Jurisdiction in Marginal Seas: With Special Reference to Smuggling

By William E. Masterson | Go to book overview
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INTRODUCTION

THE old claims of the maritime powers to dominion in the high seas were abandoned some two hundred years ago. It has always been evident, however, that for some purposes, at least, it is necessary for the state to retain a certain measure of jurisdiction over the waters adjoining its coast: the nation's defense and safety must be secured; navigation must be made safe for vessels visiting its ports; health must be protected, the revenue safeguarded against smuggling craft, and the coast fisheries must be reserved for its nationals. The development of the idea of this jurisdiction in the coastal waters has not been without its difficulties. Especially has the maximum distance seaward to which certain laws may be enforced in these waters been a constant and fruitful source of controversy among nations; and so varied has been the practice and so divergent the views of governments on this point that it may be safely said that there has not, as yet, emerged from the confusion a clearly defined and crystallized principle of International Law, unless it may be said that three miles, or one league, must be allowed as the minimum distance.

A thorough treatment of the historical development of the law relating to jurisdiction in the marginal seas with respect to fisheries, neutrality, crime, pilotage, collision, quarantine, salvage, revenue, and customs is beyond the scope of this volume. The laws passed to protect or regulate these various interests, or claims, involve different considerations, and they have, therefore, developed along different lines; laws securing or regulating a par

-xiii-

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