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Criminal Resource Manual

10. Violence Against Maritime Navigation And Maritime Fixed Platforms (18 U.S.C. 2280, 2281)

Sections 2280 and 2281, which became effective on March 6, 1995, are the results of the International Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation and its accompanying Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Fixed Platforms located on the Continental Shelf. The Convention was in response to the hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship in the Mediterranean Sea in 1985. Section 2280 provides for ships the same protection under international law against violent activity that earlier had been developed for aircraft under the Hague Convention against aircraft piracy and the Montreal Convention against the sabotage of aircraft. (Compare § 2280 with 18 U.S.C. § 32 and 49 U.S.C. § 46502.) There is extraterritorial jurisdiction whenever the prohibited activity is directed against a United States flagged ship, a perpetrator is a national of the United States, a national of the United States is seized, threatened, injured, or killed during the commission of the prohibited activity, or the offender is subsequently found in the United States. Section 2281 provides similar coverage for such prohibited activity directed against off-shore fixed platforms.