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International Law

The following are digests and case links to Circuit Court Admiralty Cases that have as an issue international law:

Sea Hunt, Inc. v. Unidentified Vessels, Kingdom of Spain
Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals
July 21, 2000

Abandoned Shipwreck Act ("ASA"): under admiralty law, where an owner comes forward to assert ownership in a shipwreck, abandonment must be shown by express acts, thus salvor failed to prove that Spain had abandoned its naval vessels for purposes of the Abandoned Shipwreck Act where it failed to show an express abandonment by clear and convincing evidence; International Law: a standard of express abandonment is also required under the 1902 Treaty of Friendship and General Relations between the United States and Spain; the 1763 Definitive Treaty of Peace between France, Great Britain, and Spain, which ended the Seven Years War and transferred most of Spain's territories in the new world to Great Britain, does not contain clear and convincing evidence of the "express abandonment" of the Spanish naval vessels; Salvage: the salvor is not entitled to a salvage award since it is the right of the owner of any vessel to refuse unwanted salvage.

United States v. Bustos-Useche
Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
November 13, 2001

International Law:persons charged with a crime under the Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Act, 46 U.S.C. app. § 1903, do not have standing to raise issues of international law, thus the defendant could not argue lack of jurisdiction based on the legitimacy of the flag nation's consent to the enforcement of US law on the Panamanian vessel in international waters, which could only be raised by Panama; Criminal Law: defendant's jurisdictional argument that Panama did not consent to enforcement of US law on the Vessel until after drugs were found on board, thus nullifying the district court's jurisdiction, also fails since the only statutory prerequisite to jurisdiction under section 1903(c)(1)(C) is that the flag nation consent to the enforcement of United States law before trial. 

Den Norske Stats Oljeselskap v. Heeremac Vof et. al
Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
February  5, 2001

International Law/Government Regulation: the plain language of the Foreign Trade Antitrust Improvements Act ("FTAIA") precludes subject matter jurisdiction over claims by foreign plaintiffs against defendants where the situs of the injury is overseas and that injury arises from effects in a non-domestic market, thus plaintiff Norwegian oil company's antitrust claim alleging that it paid inflated prices for heavy-lift barge services in the North Sea because of a territory splitting and price fixing conspiracy among the three worldwide operators of heavy-lift barges was properly dismissed.

Humane Society v. Clinton
Federal Circuit Court of Appeals
January  4, 2001

International Law: the Driftnet Fishing Act, 16 U.S.C. §§ 1826-1826g, establishes a process under which the United States may take various actions against a foreign nation whose fishing vessels on the high seas engage in large-scale driftnet fishing; the President has broad discretion under the Act to determine that consultations leading to an agreement with an identified nation in violation of the Act have been "satisfactorily concluded"; the Secretary of Commerce's determination that Italy had terminated large-scale driftnet fishing by its nationals and vessels in violation of the Act was not arbitrary and capricious although based solely on the "satisfactorily concluded" agreement with the Italian government.

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