Who Has Jurisdiction in International Waters?

There are more complicated questions in maritime law, than who has jurisdiction in the event of a crime or catastrophic incident at sea involving loss of life.  Broadly speaking, enforcement of maritime law(s) is often left up to the authorities in the location where the incident occurred.  But at the same time, the flag state of the vessel also has jurisdiction to investigate the incident.  And to further complicate the issue, a crime involving a U.S. citizen while aboard a cruise ship, regardless of location worldwide, gives the FBI jurisdiction over the case as well! 

In international waters, there is no single governing body that has exclusive jurisdiction over the area. Many groups have some degree of authority in these areas, including governments, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and even pirates! Suffering an injury, whether you are the crew of a vessel or a passenger on a cruise ship, can quickly become confusing as you try to make sense of how you can file a claim against the at-fault party.


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Fortunately, the award-winning team of maritime attorneys at Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A. can guide you through this process so that you can stay focused on your recovery while we fight to get you the money and justice you deserve.

The Convention on The High Seas

The Convention on the High Seas is an international treaty created by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) signed in 1959 and put into force in 1962. In 1982, this Convention was superseded by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea by UNCLOS III with added concepts including Exclusive Economic Zones and has since been signed by 167 countries and the European Union.

If you have been injured in a situation where there are multiple vessels involved flying under separate state flags, we may need to utilize this convention in order to determine the most effective course of action, but we are prepared to litigate a case anywhere in the world.  We take tremendous pride in having handled countless cases in international courts and arbitrations. 


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Understand Your Rights After an Accident in International Waters

Accidents and crimes in international waters is an exceptionally complicated area of the law.  Fortunately, this is all we do on a daily basis and we have been doing it since 1971.  Let us put our experience to work for you to concisely answer all of your admiralty and maritime questions. 

Contact us to request your free consultation. and to learn more about how we can help you navigate the complicated world of maritime law. Whether your accident took place in the US or international waters your recovery is most important and experienced maritime lawyers are here to fight for you. 



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