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Maritime Law Weapons on Ships

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The other thing to keep in mind is that the ocean is a hostile environment for weapons and weapon parts. You can minimize this with stainless steel or nickel-plated weapons, but when it comes to the sea, no weapon is “stainless,” and the more complex the gun, the more of a problem it can be. This is another reason to stay away from assault rifles and cars and stick to lever guns and revolvers. When we put it all together, we can see that the laws around firearms on seaworthy vessels are very complex. There are paths around some of them and no way around others. For this reason, yachts calling at international ports often carry no weapons other than their flares or use non-lethal and accepted weapons such as water cannons or others, as they are generally accepted without restriction in most parts of the world. The same goes for other weapons. So next time you go on a cruise, don`t bring a gun. This way, you don`t break any rules. They also reduce the risk of dangerous accidents. The MSC certifies the training offered by IMSN, and the crew of its ships is composed of the vast majority of seafarers who regularly take the course. The MSC`s communications office said none of its officials would comment on the story.

If you`re one of those people, the lack of weapons on a cruise could make you feel insecure. Without your weapon, your main line of defense is lost. Fortunately, cruise ships are also worried about your protection. Merchant seamen who wish to bring “defense materiel” on board their vessels, including firearms for crew emergencies, must obtain authorization and register the weapons in accordance with the U.S. Department of State`s International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). According to Staples, because the crews of modern ships are so small, individual crew members are under enormous stress with their sailing tasks alone, let alone being able to rely on the handling of a weapon. More recently, commercial vessels off the coast of Somalia have successfully used non-lethal weapons such as long-range acoustic devices (LRADs), stun and lightning grenades, flares, handguns such as M-14 rifles, ideal for warning fire and disabling ranged fire, and shotguns and 12-gauge pistols for border ship defense and self-defense. Tazers, stun guns, and pepper sprays are viable non-lethal ways to arm yourself or your crew to deal with potential problems, provided you`re properly trained to use them. I know several owners who have a variety of swords, machetes, and batons at hand – which in many ways near a boat could be more practical defensive weapons than a firearm. It is not surprising that firearms are prohibited on cruise ships, given the security risk. But other prohibited items might surprise you. Some of them are weapons.

Others are items that you may find relatively harmless. What you should always keep in mind is that the things we take for granted as Americans, such as our “right to bear arms,” can vary greatly once you set foot in international waters. But it`s even more complicated than that. To truly understand the legal complexities of transporting weapons aboard seagoing vessels, you must first look at maritime law and then international law, and as with shore-based transport, even state and local laws can come into play. Another player in the field of maritime security is Risks Inc., a Florida-based security company headed by Orlando Wilson that provides security detail services. Wilson said most of those sailing armed are contract guards, who are usually former military personnel, and that it should stay that way. You can be sure that weapons will also appear on these lists. Most cruise lines have a zero-tolerance policy for prohibited items. Since their rules are clearly established, you are expected to know and follow them before you arrive.

However, a violation of these rules is unlikely to have significant legal consequences. Although these measures are not restricted outside territorial waters, within territorial waters, in order to enjoy the right of innocent passage, the merchant ship shall not engage in or exercise arms or threaten or use force against the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence of the coastal State.11 Donald Marcus, President of the International Organization of Captains, the union of journeymen and pilots, reiterated the Thinking that weapons on board a ship should only be used as a last resort “if there are no other alternatives”. Both men agreed that U.S. military personnel are the best guard you can have on a ship in case of risk. This is because international regulations for contracted security personnel are less clear than those for the military, and because soldiers are both more experienced and better trained. Although it may seem strange, skeet shooting was once a popular activity on cruise ships. The cruisers targeted clay pigeons sailing across the ocean. An officer watched people fire shotguns in the open sea. For several reasons, this practice no longer exists today. In practice, however, virtually no shipping company provides weapons to its own crews, preferring to use professional guards. Given the dangers faced by seafarers at sea, some commentators argue that commercial seafarers should have access to weapons to defend themselves and their crews in the event of attack.

According to the National Rifle Association (NRA) in a statement, “guns and armed citizens at sea can be as effective a criminal deterrent as they are on land.” We start with the Global Law of the Ocean, which is called the Law of the Sea (also called the Admiralty Act, the Law of the Sea, etc.). Our modern international law of the sea is rooted in the United Nations conventions, which largely consist of generally accepted maritime rules created over time by tradition. More specifically, it is the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Civilian seafarers who wish to carry firearms during embarkation shall be trained in their use. Many U.S. Coast Guard-certified marine safety companies offer weapons training certification for merchant seamen. The International Maritime Safety Network (IMSN) provides training services to seafarers, most of whom serve on board MSC ships that need to be trained in the use of small arms, said Jay Stock, an IMSN official. The courses are open to seafarers from other sectors of the maritime industry. IMSN conducts courses on the safe handling and maintenance of rifles, pistols and shotguns for at least two weeks per month. Intertanko, in collaboration with several other maritime industry organizations, is publishing a set of best management practices for dealing with piracy in Somalia and the Gulf of Guinea that prioritize risk prevention and the use of military and private guard details over arming seafarers. Presumably, you won`t be able to take a gun with you on a cruise, no matter what permission you have. There are many different gun laws in the United States.

But cruise ships don`t care about these laws. Instead of diving into each other`s details, they take a holistic approach. Staples pointed out that the captain of a ship in merchant fleets may not have access to the background or criminal past of its sailors, and providing a weapon to a sailor with a crime would be a criminal act and could endanger the crew. However, for ships that for whatever reason have weapons on board, Staples stressed that crews need to be trained to escalate violence, more like “police training” in that regard. At this point, of course, it`s important to know the laws of the areas you`re navigating to, as well as all the points in between, which makes things so complex. A gun may be legal in one area, but you may pass through other areas where it is illegal to go there. A good example is on our other coast, in the North, where travellers from the American continent to Alaska pass through Canadian jurisdiction and therefore have to declare weapons on board or face serious consequences if caught. What is surprising is what appears to be a certain degree of hypocrisy. The same ships that ban toy guns may have a gift shop with toy guns. The ship has no problem with children playing with the toys they sell. But they are not willing to allow children to bring their own toy weapons. The practice of arming merchant ships has been around for a long time.

In colonial times, merchant ships carried cannons and weapons comparable to those of warships. Weapons were used by the crew to defend the ship and crew against attacks by pirates, buccaneers and enemy warships. While security companies are the usual sources of training for MSC ships, maritime academies such as the Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA) offer their own training. Captain Bradley Lima, one of the instructors in MMA`s small arms course, said the academy`s training was only about teaching familiarity rather than skill.

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