18 USC Sec. 2285 01/05/2009
TITLE 18 - CRIMES AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
PART I - CRIMES
CHAPTER 111 - SHIPPING
Sec. 2285. Operation of submersible vessel or semi-submersible
vessel without nationality
(a) Offense. - Whoever knowingly operates, or attempts or
conspires to operate, by any means, or embarks in any submersible
vessel or semi-submersible vessel that is without nationality and
that is navigating or has navigated into, through, or from waters
beyond the outer limit of the territorial sea of a single country
or a lateral limit of that country's territorial sea with an
adjacent country, with the intent to evade detection, shall be
fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 15 years, or both.
(b) Evidence of Intent To Evade Detection. - For purposes of
subsection (a), the presence of any of the indicia described in
paragraph (1)(A), (E), (F), or (G), or in paragraph (4), (5), or
(6), of section 70507(b) of title 46 may be considered, in the
totality of the circumstances, to be prima facie evidence of intent
to evade detection.
(c) Extraterritorial Jurisdiction. - There is extraterritorial
Federal jurisdiction over an offense under this section, including
an attempt or conspiracy to commit such an offense.
(d) Claim of Nationality or Registry. - A claim of nationality or
registry under this section includes only -
(1) possession on board the vessel and production of documents
evidencing the vessel's nationality as provided in article 5 of
the 1958 Convention on the High Seas;
(2) flying its nation's ensign or flag; or
(3) a verbal claim of nationality or registry by the master or
individual in charge of the vessel.
(e) Affirmative Defenses. -
(1) In general. - It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution
for a violation of subsection (a), which the defendant has the
burden to prove by a preponderance of the evidence, that the
submersible vessel or semi-submersible vessel involved was, at
the time of the offense -
(A) a vessel of the United States or lawfully registered in a
foreign nation as claimed by the master or individual in charge
of the vessel when requested to make a claim by an officer of
the United States authorized to enforce applicable provisions
of United States law;
(B) classed by and designed in accordance with the rules of a
(C) lawfully operated in government-regulated or licensed
activity, including commerce, research, or exploration; or
(D) equipped with and using an operable automatic
identification system, vessel monitoring system, or long range
identification and tracking system.
(2) Production of documents. - The affirmative defenses
provided by this subsection are proved conclusively by the
production of -
(A) government documents evidencing the vessel's nationality
at the time of the offense, as provided in article 5 of the
1958 Convention on the High Seas;
(B) a certificate of classification issued by the vessel's
classification society upon completion of relevant
classification surveys and valid at the time of the offense; or
(C) government documents evidencing licensure, regulation, or
registration for commerce, research, or exploration.
(f) Federal Activities Excepted. - Nothing in this section
applies to lawfully authorized activities carried out by or at the
direction of the United States Government.
(g) Applicability of Other Provisions. - Sections 70504 and 70505
of title 46 apply to offenses under this section in the same manner
as they apply to offenses under section 70503 of such title.
(h) Definitions. - In this section, the terms "submersible
vessel", "semi-submersible vessel", "vessel of the United States",
and "vessel without nationality" have the meaning given those terms
in section 70502 of title 46.
(Added Pub. L. 110-407, title I, Sec. 102(a), Oct. 13, 2008, 122
FINDINGS AND DECLARATIONS
Pub. L. 110-407, title I, Sec. 101, Oct. 13, 2008, 122 Stat.
4296, provided that: "Congress finds and declares that operating or
embarking in a submersible vessel or semi-submersible vessel
without nationality and on an international voyage is a serious
international problem, facilitates transnational crime, including
drug trafficking, and terrorism, and presents a specific threat to
the safety of maritime navigation and the security of the United