Friday, February 20, 2009

Alaska - power grab in Arctic waters?

The Alaska Board of Marine Pilots issued a second supplemental notice of proposed changes to the state pilotage regulations. These proposed changes, like the earlier versions, would extend the compulsory pilotage requirement in Arctic waters well outside the three-mile territorial waters of Alaska. Comments on the proposal should be submitted by March 27. Note: While I do not necessarily oppose the concept of having persons with local knowledge advising on navigation in polar waters, I am greatly concerned that the state of Alaska is trying to legislate outside its territorial jurisdiction. This matter should, in my opinion, be addressed, if at all, only by the federal government. What are your views on this proposal? (2/18/09).

1 comment:

  1. It is well established as a matter of law that a state's pilotage jurisdiction is not limited to three miles. See, e.g., Gillis v. Louisiana, 294 F. 3rd 755 (5th cir. 2002) A state can assert its pilotage jurisdiction, including a compulsory pilotage requirement, out as far as the state feels is necessary to achieve the objectives of its pilotage system. In fact, there are many places in the United states where there is currently a state pilotage requirement considerably beyond three miles. In short, there is no such thing as "three-mile territorial waters" for state pilotage.

    Any objections to the particular proposal of the Alaska Marine Board of Pilots, which is limitedto the unique circumstances of the Artic region adjacent to that State, will undoubtedly be considered carefully by the Board. But a concern for some arbitrary three mile limit to the geographic area of the proposed pilotage requirement should not be a factor.