USCG Revises Model Maritime Service Code

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The U.S. Coast Guard announced on May 18 the publication of an updated and revised Model Maritime Service Code designed to assist countries seeking guidance in developing effective maritime forces with corresponding authorities.

The Model Maritime Service Code, primarily based on some of the laws and directives of the United States Coast Guard, provides a structure that endeavors to ensure the economy of forces and unity of effort necessary to address the spectrum of issues a maritime country may face.  The code provides the legal framework to address emerging maritime safety and security concerns, including the protection of mariner rights and the effective flow of global commerce, pollution prevention, protection of living marine resources and preservation of the marine environment.  

"Recent developments in international and domestic law have been incorporated in the revised Model Maritime Service Code, providing users with a comprehensive legal framework," said Rear Adm. William D. Baumgartner, judge advocate general for the U.S. Coast Guard.  "We look forward to collaborating with our international partners to strengthen global maritime governance."

The revised code is presented in a modular format with 18 chapters, allowing users to find guidance on a particular topic or convention without having to adopt the text in its entirety.  Legal regimes covered in the code include; investigations and civil penalties, customs and smuggling, narcotics, immigrations, refugees, and smuggling and trafficking in persons, recreational boating safety, living marine resources preservation, search and rescue, navigation, port state control, port safety and security, facility security, merchant vessel personnel, pollution and preservation and exploration of the marine environment. 

The revised Model Maritime Service Code is only available upon request by contacting the Coast Guard's Office of International Affairs at [email protected] (202) 372-4453.  Countries interested in using the Model Maritime Service Code in the creation or revision of the legislative, regulatory or policy governance structure for their maritime service are invited to contact the U.S. Coast Guard to create a program to meet their country's specific needs.

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