090706-N-9999X-001 RED SEA (July 6, 2009) A visit, board, search and seizure team from the guided-missile destroyer USS Laboon (DDG 58) conducts training in preparation for Operation Allied Protector, NATO's counter-piracy operation. Laboon, along with ships from Greece, Italy, Turkey and the United Kingdom, is actively patrolling the Gulf of Aden area, with a focus on deterring and disrupting piracy as well as protecting vulnerable shipping assests in the region. Laboon is deployed in direct support of Standing NATO Maritime Group 2. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

Our colleague Brian Wilson has published a comprehensive study on ‘Human Rights and Maritime Law Enforcement‘ in the Stanford Journal of International Law Vol. 52 (2016) 243-319. The article can be accessed on SSRN.

Here is the abstract:

Maritime law enforcement responses since 2010 have sparked unprecedented attention to the intersection of human rights and maritime security. This article examines four major response areas: Drug trafficking, piracy, migration, and illegal fishing. Seminal authorities and recent judicial opinions are explored along with specific questions, such as how long a suspected criminal captured at sea may be detained aboard a warship, when lethal force may be employed, and under what circumstances may a suspicious vessel be destroyed. Courts are increasingly addressing issues once considered within the sole discretion of government officials and operational commanders. The result, unfortunately, is an ad hoc collection of judicial opinions, treaties, and multilateral agreements that lack coherence and consistency. This article sets forth an essential road map for harmonizing human rights obligations with the inherent challenges of high seas maritime law enforcement.

Captain Brian Wilson, U.S. Navy (Retired) is the Deputy Director of the Global Maritime Operational Threat Response Coordination Center, U.S. Coast Guard/U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and is a visiting professor at the United States Naval Academy.

Image credit: US Navy (090706-N-9999X-001), Red Sea (6 July 2009). A visit, board, search and seizure team from the guided-missile destroyer USS Laboon (DDG 58) conducts training in preparation for Operation Allied Protector, NATO’s counter-piracy operation.