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Fighting Terrorism at Sea: Options and Limitations under International Law

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Chapter Summary

Terrorism at sea has manifested itself in recent times with the Achille Lauro hijacking in 1985 serving as a wake-up call. The Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation, adopted in 1988, for the first time addressed terrorism at sea, representing an important extension of a cooperative law enforcement regime into a wholly new area, containing a finely balanced aut dedere aut iudicare scheme. The amendments of 2005 significantly expand the scope of the Convention by providing for the first time an international treaty framework for combating and prosecuting individuals who use a ship as a weapon or means of committing a terrorist attack, or transport by ship terrorists or cargo intended for use in connection with weapons of mass destruction programs. Furthermore, a mechanism has been established to facilitate the boarding in international waters of vessels suspected of engaging in these activities.

Keywords: Achille Lauro hijacking; combating; international waters; law enforcement regime; mass destruction programs; safety of maritime navigation; terrorism at sea; unlawful acts



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