1. In the event of a collision or any other incident of navigation
concerning a ship on the high seas, involving the penal or disciplinary
responsibility of the master or of any other person in the service of the
ship, no penal or disciplinary proceedings may be instituted against such
person except before the judicial or administrative authorities either of
the flag State or of the State of which such person is a national.
Penal jurisdiction in matters of collision
or any other incident of navigation
2. In disciplinary matters, the State which has issued a master's
certificate or a certificate of competence or licence shall alone be
competent, after due legal process, to pronounce the withdrawal of such
certificates, even if the holder is not a national of the State which
3. No arrest or detention of the ship, even as a measure of investigation,
shall be ordered by any authorities other than those of the flag State.
1. Every State shall require the master of a ship flying its flag, in so
far as he can do so without serious danger to the ship, the crew or the
Duty to render assistance
2. Every coastal State shall promote the establishment, operation and
maintenance of an adequate and effective search and rescue service
regarding safety on and over the sea and, where circumstances so require,
by way of mutual regional arrangements co-operate with neighbouring States
for this purpose.
- to render assistance to any person found at sea in danger of being
- to proceed with all possible speed to the rescue of persons in
distress, if informed of their need of assistance, in so far as such
action may reasonably be expected of him;
- after a collision, to render assistance to the other ship, its crew
and its passengers and, where possible, to inform the other ship of
the name of his own ship, its port of registry and the nearest port
at which it will call.
Every State shall take effective measures to prevent and punish the
transport of slaves in ships authorized to ny its flag and to prevent the
unlawful use of its flag for that purpose. Any slave taking refuge on board
any ship, whatever its flag, shall ipso facto be free.
Prohibition of the transport of slaves
All States shall co-operate to the fullest possible extent in the
repression of piracy on the high seas or in any other place outside the
jurisdiction of any State.
Piracy consists of any of the following acts:
Duty to co-operate in the repression of piracy
- any illegal acts of violence or detention, or any act of depredation,
committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of a private
ship or a private aircraft, and directed:
- on the high seas, against another ship or aircraft, or against
persons or property on board such ship or aircraft;
- against a ship, aircraft, persons or property in a place outside
the jurisdiction of any State;
- any act of voluntary participation in the operation of a ship or of
an aircraft with knowledge of facts making it a pirate ship or
- any act of inciting or of intentionally facilitating an act described
in subparagraph (a) or (b).
The acts of piracy, as defined in article 101, committed by a warship,
government ship or government aircraft whose crew has mutinied and taken
control of the ship or aircraft are assimilated to acts committed by a
private ship or aircraft.
Piracy by a warship, government ship or government aircraft
whose crew has mutinied
A ship or aircraft is considered a pirate ship or aircraft if it is
intended by the persons in dominant control to be used for the purpose of
committing one of the acts referred to in article 101. The same applies if
the ship or aircraft has been used to commit any such act, so long as it
remains under the control of the persons guilty of that act.
Definition of a pirate ship or aircraft
A ship or aircraft may retain its nationality although it has become a
pirate ship or aircraft. The retention or loss of nationality is determined
by the law of the State from which such nationality was derived.
Retention or loss of the nationality of a pirate ship or aircraft
On the high seas, or in any other place outside the jurisdiction of any
State, every State may seize a pirate ship or aircraft, or a ship or
aircraft taken by piracy and under the control of pirates, and arrest the
persons and seize the property on board. The courts of the State which
carried out the seizure may decide upon the penalties to be imposed, and
may also determine the action to be taken with regard to the ships,
aircraft or property, subject to the rights of third parties acting in good
Seizure of a pirate ship or aircraft
Where the seizure of a ship or aircraft on suspicion of piracy has been
effected without adequate grounds, the State making the seizure shall be
liable to the State the nationality of which is possessed by the ship or
aircraft for any loss or damage caused by the seizure.
Liability for seizure without adequate grounds
A seizure on account of piracy may be carried out only by warships or
military aircraft, or other ships or aircraft clearly marked and
identifiable as being on government service and authorized to that effect.
Ships and aircraft which are entitled to seize on account of piracy
1. All States shall co-operate in the suppression of illicit traffic in
narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances engaged in by ships on the high
seas contrary to international conventions.
Illicit traffic in narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances
2. Any State which has reasonable grounds for believing that a ship flying
its flag is engaged in illicit traffic in narcotic drugs or psychotropic
substances may request the co-operation of other States to suppress such
1. All States shall co-operate in the suppression of unauthorized
broadcasting from the high seas.
Unauthorized broadcasting from the high seas
2. For the purposes of this Convention, "unauthorized broadcasting" means
the transmission of sound radio or television broadcasts from a ship or
installation on the high seas intended for reception by the general public
contrary to international regulations, but excluding the transmission of
3. Any person engaged in unauthorized broadcasting may be prosecuted before
the court of:
4. On the high seas, a State having jurisdiction in accordance with
paragraph 3 may, in conformity with article 110, arrest any person or ship
engaged in unauthorized broadcasting and seize the broadcasting apparatus.
- the flag State of the ship;
- the State of registry of the installation;
- the State of which the person is a national;
- any State where the transmissions can be received; or
- any State where authorized radio communication is suffering
Convention on the Law of the Sea: Index