Interdicting Vessels to Enforce the Common Interest: Maritime Countermeasures and the Use of Force on the High Seas

International and Comparative Law Quarterly, Vol. 56, pp. 69-82, 2007

Posted: 19 Apr 2010

See all articles by Douglas Guilfoyle

Douglas Guilfoyle

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Australian Defence Force Academy

Date Written: 2007

Abstract

Can the law of countermeasures be used to police the high seas? The freedom of the high seas is guaranteed by the immunity of a State's flag vessels from interference by the public vessels of other States, subject to limited exceptions. However, this rule of non-interference may shield those engaged in unregulated or illegal fishing or transporting weapons of mass destruction and their precursors. This article argues that while such conduct may breach obligations protecting the common interest, unilaterally boarding and arresting a vessel involved would constitute an illegal use of force and cannot be justified as a countermeasure.

Keywords: illegal unreported and unregulated fishing, IUU fishing, WMD, weapons of mass destruction, proliferation, international law, international law of the sea, countermeasures, interdiction

Suggested Citation

Guilfoyle, Douglas, Interdicting Vessels to Enforce the Common Interest: Maritime Countermeasures and the Use of Force on the High Seas (2007). International and Comparative Law Quarterly, Vol. 56, pp. 69-82, 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1591820

Douglas Guilfoyle (Contact Author)

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Australian Defence Force Academy ( email )

Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia

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