Maritime Security and the Law of the Sea
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Maritime Security and the Law of the Sea

Help or Hindrance?

Edited by Malcolm D. Evans and Sofia Galani

Exploring everything from contemporary challenges to ocean security this book offers detailed insights into the increasing activities of state and non-state actors at sea. Chapters revisit the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (LOSC), highlighting how not all maritime security threats can be addressed by this, and further looking at the ways in which the LOSC may even hinder maritime security.
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Chapter 7: Ships without nationality: interdiction on the high seas

Andrew Murdoch


Stateless vessels pose significant threats to good order at sea as they are often involved in illegal activities, such as piracy, terrorism and smuggling migrants. This chapter will examine the LOSC provisions on the right of visit and right of hot pursuit focusing on their relevance and application to the interdiction of stateless vessels on the high seas. The chapter will question whether states have a right or a duty to interdict stateless vessels on the high seas for enforcing security at sea and will discuss the legal implications of using force as well as arresting and prosecuting the persons on board a stateless vessel. It will also focus on the practice of the Royal Navy and will explain that interdiction rules might change depending on whether a stateless ship is suspected of piracy or trafficking in migrants. It will be argued that although the LOSC framework does not expressly deal with the assertion of jurisdiction over ships without nationality, it nevertheless provides a sufficiently accommodating framework for states to address maritime security threats posed by such ships.

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