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Old 12-06-2018, 10:33 PM   #16
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I'm reminded of some years ago when I had a friend who was a sea captain (Master) of a large oil tanker. Carl had a cat that he kept on his ship for company, and the quarantine gestapo caught wind of it. They actually demanded to board the ship and impound the cat, in defiance of international maritime law.

Carl stationed an armed guard at the gangway and dared them to try it.
I used to have a drinking buddy who was an old merchant marine, must have been in his 70s when I was in my early 20s. He had a lot of good stories like that.
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Old 12-07-2018, 12:07 AM   #17
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...I'm reminded of some years ago when I had a friend who was a sea captain (Master) of a large oil tanker. Carl had a cat that he kept on his ship for company, and the quarantine gestapo caught wind of it. They actually demanded to board the ship and impound the cat, in defiance of international maritime law.

Carl stationed an armed guard at the gangway and dared them to try it.
I recall a couple of land based cats getting on board ships in port here and then being discovered after the ship had sailed. The last I remember was some years back now and the next port was Korea (if I recall correctly) - the cat got a free air flight back to NZ. I can't remember who sponsored the cat's flight back, either the shipping company or the airline.

Just a small aside point, international maritime law does not prevent the removal of a cat, for example, from a foreign flagged ship in another country's ports if the local law on the matter is not met. Foreign vessels have to obey the legislation of the county's territorial waters they are in apart from the ship's flag state matters (manning, survey, etc.) but even for those the country whose waters the vessel is in can intervene on matters of safety of the ships operations if considered inadequate.

In NZ cats and dogs can stay on visiting commercial vessels but they have to be inspected and securely caged while the vessel is docked {EDIT: It occurs to me that perhaps the armed guard at the gangway in Woden's post provided, in bio-security inspectors' eyes, sufficient security that the cat would not get ashore alive }. If the animal is not secured it will be removed. Some pleasure yachts arrive with cats on board and they have either to put the cat into the usual quarantine requirements or if to be kept on board the yacht is not a allowed to dock but must stay at anchor, on a mooring, etc. I've often wondered about this because cats are excellent swimmers and I know of cats on yachts that are happy to take a swim.

Last edited by AnotherCat; 12-07-2018 at 12:25 AM.
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Old 12-07-2018, 01:18 PM   #18
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I think Carl's position was that the quarantine officers could not board his ship. I'm not sure where the ship was flagged, but I'm pretty sure that it wasn't US. I think he was sailing for Maersk, so it was probably Danish.

At any rate, he was a Master Seaman, so I'm pretty sure he was fully cognizant of maritime law.
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Old 12-07-2018, 05:47 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by wodin View Post
I think Carl's position was that the quarantine officers could not board his ship. I'm not sure where the ship was flagged, but I'm pretty sure that it wasn't US. I think he was sailing for Maersk, so it was probably Danish.

At any rate, he was a Master Seaman, so I'm pretty sure he was fully cognizant of maritime law.
If he said as you posted then he was not cognizant at all with maritime law.

This is an area I have worked a lot in in a number of countries. A ship in its travels is subject to flag state inspections (by inspectors of the state the ship is flagged in, or accredited by that state) and port state inspections (by the inspectors of the state whose waters the ship is in. The master of a ship cannot impede port state inspectors at all. These inspections are for the safety of the vessel with respect to manning, essential machinery operating correctly (engines, steering, anchoring, etc.), navigation systems operational, etc., If the port state finds issues which impact upon the safe operation of the ship then the ship will be detained (i.e. it has to stay in port until the deficiency is fixed), or the deficiency noted and a time given within which the deficiency has to be fixed - generally when the ship sails the port state forwards the outstanding deficiencies to the next state the ship will enter and that state's inspectors will monitor them. Over all of this are, of course, the periodic surveys conducted by the classification society the vessel is in (Lloyds, DNV, KR, etc.).

Now all that is separate to biosecurity controls but serves to establish that the master of a ship has no authority to prevent port state inspectors boarding and inspecting his vessel. For biosecurity the inspector will, apart from checking the presence of animals and their security, and pests, will check that food items in the ships own stores that are prohibited entry items (which may be fruits, meat, etc.) are secured. If he tried to do so the ship will be either ordered to depart the state or he will be arrested and the ship detained.

It is similar for immigration, biosecurity and customs. The ships master cannot prevent the boarding of his ship by the port state's officers for any those things. If he tries to do so the outcome will be as above. There can be biosecurity situations where the correction of the matter is outside of the master's ability to remedy, such as the infestation of fruit or timber cargo which has prohibited pests in it in which case the ship will be ordered to sea and reentry prohibited until the problem has been corrected (by fumigation, for example) - in fact, just this week a ship has been so ordered here.

I would suspect that in the case of the ship's cat that you mentioned that it was nothing to do with the master of the ship having power to order port state officers off the ship but rather that they considered that with the gang plank manned, or for some other reason the they considered the risk to biosecurity by the cat to be acceptably low and any further intervention not worth the effort.

Any suggestion that the ships master had the authority under international maritime law to prevent port state officers boarding the ship, and especially any right to do that with firearms, is just a salty seadog's exaggerated fictional tale.

{Admission: I have been associated with the marine industries for most of my working life, and aviation for some of it (aviation requirements are similar to the above) in a number of countries. As one part of that I spent some years managing a company part of whose business was the safe operation, inspection and surveying of commercial vessels for both port and flag states. I have also project managed the design and construction of commercial vessels which has included the management of temporary entry and operations during commissioning in the port state they were built in, and their entry to the register of ships, etc., and the conditions on the vessel (survey, inspections, issue of MMSI and callsigns, etc.,) in the country they were to be flagged in.}

Last edited by AnotherCat; 12-07-2018 at 05:52 PM.
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