Ripon, CA asked in Admiralty / Maritime for California

Q: A Ca police officer sees a suspected murderer while both are on board a cruise ship bound from SD to Hawaii.

Can he arrest him while the ship is in international water? The ship is registered in Liberia.

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3 Lawyer Answers
Tom Evans
Tom Evans
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Maritime Law Lawyer
  • Seattle, WA

A: The officer should call ahead and make arrangements for arrest once the vessel hits port in Hawaii. Arrests are fairly common upon arrivals. Also, during the period before reaching port the validity of the warrant can be confirmed. There are often mistakes in the system and the warrant must be validated. Hawaii will issue whats called a detainer. The jurisdiction issuing the warrant is required to retrieve the suspect. It would be unusual for a person with a valid warrant especially a felony warrant to make it on to the vessel given warrants and other passenger issues are checked before boarding. Registration of the vessel and interim location has nothing to do with this. Tom Evans Injury At Sea

Tim Akpinar agrees with this answer

Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar
Answered
  • Maritime Law Lawyer
  • Little Neck, NY

A: If the suspect had a warrant, it could also be picked up by U.S. Customs and Border Protection off the ship's manifest, resulting in officers awaiting the suspect upon docking.

Tim Akpinar

Glenn J. Holzberg
Glenn J. Holzberg
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Maritime Law Lawyer
  • Miami, FL

A: Not easily. thi8s is not a Maritme law issue and probably not one of criminal jurisdiction. What would the arresting officer do with the arrestee? Without at least the Ship's Captain and Chief Security Officer involved, the "arresting" officer could be liable for civil damages for false arrest, imprisonment, abuse of process, etc. The Ships Captain has the ultimate authority on the ship to decide whether to intervene, and from my experience in dealing with the cruise lines regularly for over 25 years I doubt they would intervene. The Federal Cruise Vessel Safety and Security Act may have some language that controls but it really involves crimes rpaes.etc on the ship, not suspected criminals who happen to be on the ship, and even that act has no teeth.

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