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Re: VSC saved me from CG boarding
Oneathesedays I've got to start taking notes. But I know that somewhere in the USC or CFR, there is (or at least, recently was) specific reference that in certain circumstances gives US documented vessels the right to tell the USCG "No, you may not board now."
Priority #1 is given to documented vessels that are inbound to a US port and carrying mail from a foreign port. (Which any documented vessel is authorized to do.) Anyone who wants to interrupt your trip, for any reason, can be told "Come back after we've tied up and delivered the mail to the USPS." and there's no discussion about it. If they delay the mail, it doesn't matter what agency they work for, they're subject to arrest and prosecution.
Priority #2 is at the discretion of the documented vessel's master. If the interception is going to endanger his vessel in some way, i.e. conditions are unsafe, or the delay could turn a daylight arrival into a night arrival, you can say "Too dangerous, come see me after I've tied up." It probably would help to cite the code section....I've only got a vague memory that it would be in the USC.
If state highway patrols or city cops routinely made traffic stops with long arms out and at the ready, or even with sidearms drawn, there'd be an incredibly loud response. No matter how professional the USCG may be, and no matter how "entitled" the fed may or may not be, the whole business of heavily armed boarding parties is simply unjustified and beyond offensive.
Sure, there are bad guys on some boats. That doesn't entitle anyone to pretend every "safety inspection" should be a SWAT response. If it is too dangerous to perform administrative code inspections (which are what vessel safety checks are) without heavy arms, then they just shouldn't be done. Or maybe...building inspectors and grocery scale checks should be done in the same uniform way. They're all the same administrative code inspections, after all.
Which one sounds right to you? M16's to inspect the elevator and the grocery counter? Or leaving the guns in the armory locker?