Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Model Maritime Service Code

Excerpt from U.S. Coast Guard “Proceedings of the Marine Safety & Security Council” magazine by LT Tamara Wallen, Legal Advisor, U.S. Coast Guard Office of Maritime and International Law.

Most Recent Edition
The 2008 edition of the Model Maritime Service Code incorporated developments in domestic and international law since the first edition was published in 1995.

The latest revision of the model code is arranged into 18 chapters. The first three chapters are dedicated to establishing a maritime force—one organized and authorized to assert maritime jurisdiction over activities, vessels, and persons in specified geographic areas. These chapters also include a general description of maritime crimes.

The fourth chapter is dedicated to authorizing a maritime force to conduct investigations, assess and impose civil penalties, and refer cases for criminal prosecution. The remaining chapters address many individual missions that may be performed by a maritime force.

Using the Model Code
Each chapter begins with an introductory section followed by a summary of relevant international law and U.S. Coast Guard efforts in the mission area.

Supplemental information is provided in the guidance and implementation section to provide operational depth and practical guidance to the law. Model legislative text can easily be adapted to fit into existing legal regimes and address the particular needs of each state.

The revised code highlights issues for consideration and provides drafting guidance for consideration. The content has been cross-referenced, and related topics and relevant principles of law are listed in each chapter to assist drafters wishing to adopt particular sections to ensure that an effective legal framework is achieved. Links to relevant conventions, U.S. statutes, regulations, and resources are listed at the conclusion of each chapter.

For more information:
For more information on the Model Maritime Service Code, contact the USCG Office of International Affairs.