As a result of this international lack of action or caring for the seafarers held hostage many persons seem to think that Piracy is outside the Law. This attitude was reflected in a comment to our Post "AWAY AND BACK" where the commenter seemed to think that nothing could be done because of jurisdictional issues. Nothing could be further from the truth the only issue in dealing with Piracy once and for all is the will of the International Maritime Organization and the various National Governments of maritime nations. For some reason which is quite beyond the understanding of NAUTICAL LOG they are entirely unwilling to solve the situation.
The Law itself is quite clear and in meetings, conferences and agreements since the 18th. Century Piracy has been an International crime in response to which any Nation can capture, bring to trial and execute the perpetrators. The latest update is covered in the Law of Nations by;
United Nations Convention of Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) Articles 101 - 103;
Article 101 - Definition of Piracy.
Article 102 - Piracy by a warship, government ship or aircraft whose crew has mutinied.
Article 103 - Definition of a pirate ship or aircraft.
As to the various Nations they can and do enact National Laws to legalize the UNCLOS in their individual nations. In some European countries, such as the United Kingdom, there is an Admiralty Court and maritime issues are heard in that venue under British Admiralty Law. In others such as the United States there is not a separate Admiralty Court and maritime issues are heard in the U.S. Federal Court. The U.S. Law covering Piracy is Title 18 USC § 1651 - § 1661;
§ 1651 - Piracy under law of nations
§ 1652 - Citizens as pirates
§ 1653 - Aliens as pirates
§ 1654 - Arming or serving on privateers
§ 1655 - Assault on commander as piracy
§ 1656 - Conversion or surrender of vessel
§ 1657 - Corruption of seamen and confederating with pirates
§ 1658 - Plunder of distressed vessel
§ 1659 - Attack to plunder vessel
§ 1660 - Receipt of pirate property
§ 1661 - Robbery ashore
So as one can clearly see the act of Piracy is defined under U.S. Federal Law and with quite some detail, it is of course an illegal act punishable by death. Most certainly therefore it is not outside or above the Law however that Law of Nations is currently being ignored to the everlasting shame of the International and National Maritime Authorities.
And now as the MS Iceberg 1 enters her third year of captivity lets us remember the 300 some seafarers held hostage by pirates off the coast of Puntland, Somalia. They face mutilation and or death every day and absolutely nothing is being done to rescue them. They have died from ill health and by suicide.