U.S. signs maritime safety treaties
The United States has signed two safety treaties amending the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Act against the Safety of Maritime Navigation (SUA) and its related protocol on Fixed Platforms.
The changes are the result of more than three years of intensive negotiations in the International Maritime Organization. After Sept. 11, 2001, the international community started pushing for a more effective international effort to combat maritime terrorism.
The United States was asked to take the lead in the effort to update the SUA Convention and Fixed Platform Protocol. The treaties were originally adopted in response to the 1985 hijacking of the Italian-flag cruise ship 'Achille Lauro' and the murder of an American passenger.
The U.S.-endorsed changes Friday create an international criminal framework for combating the use of a ship on the high seas for a terrorist attack or to transport terrorists or cargo intended for use in weapons of mass destruction. They also create a protocol for boarding vessels.