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Israel: Shipping Security

(Oct. 9, 2008) On August 20, 2008, the Knesset (Israel's parliament) passed a law on the protection of international navigation and maritime installations. According toexplanatory notes about the bill, the law was designed to implement the 1988 Rome Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation and the Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Fixed Platforms on the Continental Shelf. Accordingly, the incorporation into Israel's domestic law of both the Convention and the Protocol is expected to enable Israel to take part in this aspect of the global war on terrorism.

The law defines offenses that endanger the safety of international navigation and of maritime installations and bestows enforcement authority on captains of Israeli vessels where such offenses are committed. According to the explanatory notes, the penalties imposed by the law reflect the commitment of Israel to define as serious crimes acts of breaching the security of vessels navigating in international waters and of maritime equipment located on shore. The granting of enforcement authority similarly reflects the need for immediate powers to deal with suspects who either committed or are about to commit the offenses listed. Such authority includes the power to demand identification, interrogation, detention, arrest, and bodily and property search of suspects as well as the transfer to Israel or other states signatory to the Convention of suspects arrested on ships. (Shipping (Offenses Against the Safety of International Navigation and Maritime Installations) Law, 5768-2008, the Knesset website, http://www.knesset.gov.il/privatelaw/data/17/3/191_3_2.rtf; Shipping (Offenses Against the Safety of International Navigation and Maritime Installations) Bill (introduced in July 2005), Knesset website, http://www.knesset.gov.il/Laws/Data/BillGoverment/191/191.pdf (last visited Oct. 7, 2008).)