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Re: Limits of Captains authority
"Traditionally most ships went to sea for extended periods, away from any legal jurisdiction."
That's a new one on me. Traditionally, back to the dawn of history, every vessel is still under the legal jurisdiction of whatever sovereign ruled its home port and master. The only vessels not under the legal jurisdiction of someone else, would have been pirates. Pretty much by definition.
I'd bet the "neither fish nor fowl" role of the USNS, coupled with our recent "state of emergency but not state of war" must have enhanced the confusion of everyone, no?
The guy probably was charged with ADW, assault with a deadly weapon, for making a threat with a knife. Pennsylvania, like most of the old Colonies, would recognize a *commercial*licensed* captain as having rather different authority compared to the "civilian" skipper in the transpac. But even then, most states would also allow for a "citizen's arrest" and in fact there are also militia laws that are largely ignored, which might even impose a duty to act and arrest. (Which is how militia laws started, under the British Crown, to ensure local law enforcement against violent crimes.)
Last edited by hellosailor; 08-16-2013 at 11:44 AM.