If you are not within the borders of a foreign nation, be aware that international waters are among the most heavily regulated places anywhere in the world. Remember that laws govern you, no matter where, or how, you travel.
If you are using a travel agency or cruise ship company to plan your trip, include the contact information on your travel itinerary.
Here are five principles where you may be subject to a nation’s laws while traveling by sea:
- The Territorial Principle states that every ship is subject to the jurisdiction of the country whose flag it flies.
- The Nationality Principle occurs, for example, when the United States enforces its Civil Rights laws to Americans employed abroad by American employers.
- The Passive Nationality Principle defines jurisdiction based on the nationality of those injured by the conduct of another person. This principle is controversial, but still sometimes applied.
- The Protective Principle applies to actions that threaten the national interests of a foreign state, such as counterfeiting or national security.
- The Universal Jurisdiction states that certain acts are so heinous that any state can prosecute these crimes. These crimes include piracy, transporting human slaves, and other serious acts against other persons.