• The Freedom of Navigation and its Limitations. A case study of the U.S. interdictory programme

Lambert Academic Publishing
Publication date:

(Maria was born in Zambia and obtained her undergraduate law degree from the University of Zambia. She has a postgraduate degree in International Maritime Law from the IMO International Maritime Law Institute, Malta, and an MBA from Nottingham University Business School. She is now based in New York working with the United Nations.)


From the earliest of time, the high seas were open to free and unrestricted use by all. The rule of customary law that was subsequently codified in 1982 was that the high seas were open to all States and no State could validly purport to subject any part of them to its sovereignty. From this doctrine, it follows therefore, that no State has the right to prevent or interfere with ships of another State from using the high seas for any lawful act. Exceptions are provided for under international law when States are at liberty to interfere with vessels of other States sailing on the high seas. In cases, for instance, where unlawful acts are suspected, such as piracy or slave trade. In 1981, however, the United States government introduced an interdiction programme against Haitian flag vessels on the high seas, to stop the flow of Haitian immigrants from entering the United States who were regarded as a serious national problem detrimental to the interests of the United States. The interdiction programme involved boarding and searching vessels in international waters, and was questioned by international law practitioners. This book reviews the legality of the United States programme.

MATERIA: international law