Convention for the Suppression
of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation
(Rome, 10 March 1988)
THE STATES PARTIES TO THIS CONVENTION,
HAVING IN MIND the purposes and principles
of the Charter of the United Nations concerning the maintenance of international
peace and security and the promotion of friendly relations and co-operation
RECOGNIZING in particular that everyone
has the right to life, liberty and security of person, as set out in the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights,
DEEPLY CONCERNED about the world-wide
escalation of acts of terrorism in all its forms, which endanger or take
innocent human lives, jeopardize fundamental freedoms and seriously impair
the dignity of human beings,
CONSIDERING that unlawful acts against
the safety of maritime navigation jeopardize the safety of persons and
property, seriously affect the operation of maritime services, and undermine
the confidence of the peoples of the world in the safety of maritime navigation,
CONSIDERING that the occurrence of
such acts is a matter of grave concern to the international community as
BEING CONVINCED of the urgent need
to develop international co-operation between States in devising and adopting
effective and practical measures for the prevention of all unlawful acts
against the safety of maritime navigation, and the prosecution and punishment
of their perpetrators,
RECALLING resolution 40/61 of the General
Assembly of the United Nations of 9 December 1985 which, inter alia,
"urges all States unilaterally and in co-operation with other States, as
well as relevant United Nations organs, to contribute to the progressive
elimination of causes underlying international terrorism and to pay special
attention to all situations, including colonialism, racism and situations
involving mass and flagrant violations of human rights and fundamental
freedoms and those involving alien occupation, that may give rise to international
terrorism and may endanger international peace and security",
RECALLING FURTHER that resolution 40/61
"unequivocally condemns, as criminal, all acts, methods and practices of
terrorism wherever and by whomever committed, including those which jeopardize
friendly relations among States and their security",
RECALLING ALSO that by resolution 40/61,
the International Maritime Organization was invited to "study the problem
of terrorism aboard or against ships with a view to making recommendations
on appropriate measures",
HAVING IN MIND resolution A.584(14)
of 20 November 1985, of the Assembly of the International Maritime Organization,
which called for development of measures to prevent unlawful acts which
threaten the safety of ships and the security of their passengers and crews,
NOTING that acts of the crew which
are subject to normal shipboard discipline are outside the purview of this
AFFIRMING the desirability of monitoring
rules and standards relating to the prevention and control of unlawful
acts against ships and persons on board ships, with a view to updating
them as necessary, and, to this effect, taking note with satisfaction of
the Measures to Prevent Unlawful Acts against Passengers and Crews on Board
Ships, recommended by the Maritime Safety Committee of the International
AFFIRMING FURTHER that matters not
regulated by this Convention continue to be governed by the rules and principles
of general international law,
RECOGNIZING the need for all States,
in combating unlawful acts against the safety of maritime navigation, strictly
to comply with rules and principles of general international law,
HAVE AGREED as follows:
For the purposes of this Convention, "ship"
means a vessel of any type whatsoever not permanently attached to the sea-bed,
including dynamically supported craft, submersibles, or any other floating
1. This Convention does not apply to:
(a) a warship; or
(b) a ship owned or operated by a State when
being used as a naval auxiliary or for customs or police purposes; or
(c) a ship which has been withdrawn from navigation
or laid up.
2. Nothing in this Convention affects the
immunities of warships and other government ships operated for non-commercial
1. Any person commits an offence if that person
unlawfully and intentionally:
(a) seizes or exercises control over a ship
by force or threat thereof or any other form of intimidation; or
(b) performs an act of violence against a
person on board a ship if that act is likely to endanger the safe navigation
of that ship; or
(c) destroys a ship or causes damage to a
ship or to its cargo which is likely to endanger the safe navigation of
that ship; or
(d) places or causes to be placed on a ship,
by any means whatsoever, a device or substance which is likely to destroy
that ship, or cause damage to that ship or its cargo which endangers or
is likely to endanger the safe navigation of that ship; or
(e) destroys or seriously damages maritime
navigational facilities or seriously interferes with their operation, if
any such act is likely to endanger the safe navigation of a ship; or
(f) communicates information which he knows
to be false, thereby endangering the safe navigation of a ship; or
(g) injures or kills any person, in connection
with the commission or the attempted commission of any of the offences
set forth in subparagraphs (a) to (f).
2. Any person also commits an offence if that
(a) attempts to commit any of the offences
set forth in paragraph 1; or
(b) abets the commission of any of the offences
set forth in paragraph 1 perpetrated by any person or is otherwise an accomplice
of a person who commits such an offence; or
(c) threatens, with or without a condition,
as is provided for under national law, aimed at compelling a physical or
juridical person to do or refrain from doing any act, to commit any of
the offences set forth in paragraph 1, subparagraphs (b), (c) and (e),
if that threat is likely to endanger the safe navigation of the ship in
1. This Convention applies if the ship is
navigating or is scheduled to navigate into, through or from waters beyond
the outer limit of the territorial sea of a single State, or the lateral
limits of its territorial sea with adjacent States.
2. In cases where the Convention does not
apply pursuant to paragraph 1, it nevertheless applies when the offender
or the alleged offender is found in the territory of a State Party other
than the State referred to in paragraph 1.
Each State Party shall mkae the offences set
forth in article 3 punishable by appropriate penalties which take into
account the grave nature of those offences.
1. Each State Party shall take such measures
as may be necessary to establish its jurisdiction over the offences set
forth in article 3 when the offence is committed:
(a) against or on board a ship flying the
flag of the State at the time the offence is committed; or
(b) in the territory of that State, including
its territorial sea; or
(c) by a national of that State.
2. A State Party may also establish its jurisdiction
over any such offence when:
(a) it is committed by a stateless person
whose habitual residence is in that State; or
(b) during its commission a national of that
State is seized, threatened, injured or killed; or
(c) it is committed in an attempt to compel
that State to do or abstain from doing any act.
3. Any State Party which has established jurisdiction
mentioned in paragraph 2 shall notify the Secretary-General of the International
Maritime Organization (hereinafter referred to as "the Secretary-General").
If such State Party subsequently rescinds that jurisdiction, it shall notify
4. Each State Party shall take such measures
as may be necessary to establish its jurisdiction over the offences set
forth in article 3 in cases where the alleged offender is present in its
territory and it does not extradite him to any of the States Parties which
have established their jurisdiction in accordance with paragraphs 1 and
2 of this article.
5. This Convention does not exclude any criminal
jurisdiction exercised in accordance with national law.
1. Upon being satisfied that the circumstances
so warrant, any State Party in the territory of which the offender or the
alleged offender is present shall, in accordance with its law, take him
into custody or take other measures to ensure his presence for such time
as is necessary to enable any criminal or extradition proceedings to be
2. Such State shall immediately make a preliminary
inquiry into the facts, in accordance with its own legislation.
3. Any person regarding whom the measures
referred to in paragraph 1 are being taken shall be entitled to:
(a) communicate without delay with the nearest
appropriate representative of the State of which he is a national or which
is otherwise entitled to establish such communication or, if he is a stateless
person, the State in the territory of which he has his habitual residence;
(b) be visited by a representative of that
4. The rights referred to in paragraph 3 shall
be exercised in conformity with the laws and regulations of the State in
the territory of which the offender or the alleged offender is present,
subject to the proviso that the said laws and regulations must enable full
effect to be given to the purposes for which the rights accorded under
paragraph 3 are intended.
5. When a State Party, pursuant to this article,
has taken a person into custody, it shall immediately notify the States
which have established jurisdiction in accordance with article 6, paragraph
1 and, if it considers it advisable, any other interested States, of the
fact that such person is in custody and of the circumstances which warrant
his detention. The State which makes the preliminary inquiry contemplated
in paragraph 2 of this article shall promptly report its findings to the
said States and shall indicate whether it intends to exercise jurisdiction.
1. The master of a ship of a State Party (the
"flag State") may deliver to the authorities of any other State Party (the
"receiving State") any person who he has reasonable grounds to believe
has committed one of the offences set forth in article 3.
2. The flag State shall ensure that the master
of its ship is obliged, whenever practicable, and if possible before entering
the territorial sea of the receiving State carrying on board any person
whom the master intends to deliver in accordance with paragraph 1, to give
notification to the authorities of the receiving State of his intention
to deliver such person and the reasons therefor.
3. The receiving State shall accept the delivery,
except where it has grounds to consider that the Convention is not applicable
to the acts giving rise to the delivery, and shall proceed in accordance
with the provisions of article 7. Any refusal to accept a delivery shall
be accompanied by a statement of the reasons for refusal.
4. The flag State shall ensure that the master
of its ship is obliged to furnish the authorities of the receiving State
with the evidence in the master's possession which pertains to the alleged
5. A receiving State which has accepted the
delivery of a person in accordance with paragraph 3 may, in turn, request
the flag State to accept delivery of that person. The flag State shall
consider any such request, and if it accedes to the request it shall proceed
in accordance with article 7. If the flag State declines a request, it
shall furnish the receiving State with a statement of the reasons therefor.
Nothing in this Convention shall affect in
any way the rules of international law pertaining to the competence of
States to exercise investigative or enforcement jurisdiction on board ships
not flying their flag.
1. The State Party in the territory of which
the offender or the alleged offender is found shall, in cases to which
article 6 applies, if it does not extradite him, be obliged, without exception
whatsoever and whether or not the offence was committed in its territory,
to submit the case without delay to its competent authorities for the purpose
of prosecution, through proceedings in accordance with the laws of that
State. Those authorities shall take their decision in the same manner as
in the case of any other offence of a grave nature under the law of that
2. Any person regarding whom proceedings are
being carried out in connection with any of the offences set forth in article
3 shall be guaranteed fair treatment at all stages of the proceedings,
including enjoyment of all the rights and guarantees provided for such
proceedings by the law of the State in the territory of which he is present.
1. The offences set forth in article 3 shall
be deemed to be included as extraditable offences in any extradition treaty
existing between any of the States Parties. States Parties undertake to
include such offences as extraditable offences in every extradition treaty
to be concluded between them.
2. If a State Party which makes extradition
conditional on the existence of a treaty receives a request for extradition
from another State Party with which it has no extradition treaty, the requested
State Party may, at its option, consider this Convention as a legal basis
for extradition in respect of the offences set forth in article 3. Extradition
shall be subject to the other conditions provided by the law of the requested
3. States Parties which do not make extradition
conditional on the existence of a treaty shall recognize the offences set
forth in article 3 as extraditable offences between themselves, subject
to the conditions provided by the law of the requested State.
4. If necessary, the offences set forth in
article 3 shall be treated, for the purposes of extradition between States
Parties, as if they had been committed not only in the place in which they
occurred but also in a place within the jurisdiction of the State Party
5. A State Party which receives more than
one request for extradition from States which have established jurisdiction
in accordance with article 6
and which decides not to prosecute shall, in selecting the State to which
the offender or alleged offender is to be extradited, pay due regard to
the interests and responsibilities of the State Party whose flag the ship
was flying at the time of the commission of the offence.
6. In considering a request for the extradition
of an alleged offender pursuant to this Convention, the requested State
shall pay due regard to whether his rights as set forth in article 7, paragraph
3, can be effected in the requesting State.
7. With respect to the offences as defined
in this Convention, the provisions of all extradition treaties and arrangements
applicable between States Parties are modified as between States Parties
to the extent that they are incompatible with this Convention.
1. State Parties shall afford one another
the greatest measure of assistance in connection with criminal proceedings
brought in respect of the offences set forth in article 3, including assistance
in obtaining evidence at their disposal necessary for the proceedings.
2. States Parties shall carry out their obligations
under paragraph 1 in conformity with any treaties on mutual assistance
that may exist between them. In the absence of such treaties, States Parties
shall afford each other assistance in accordance with their national law.
1. States Parties shall co-operate in the
prevention of the offences set forth in article 3, particularly by:
(a) taking all practicable measures to prevent
preparations in their respective territories for the commission of those
offences within or outside their territories;
(b) exchanging information in accordance with
their national law, and co-ordinating administrative and other measures
taken as appropriate to prevent the commission of offences set forth in
2. When, due to the commission of an offence
set forth in article 3, the passage of a ship has been delayed or interrupted,
any State Party in whose territory the ship or passengers or crew are present
shall be bound to exercise all possible efforts to avoid a ship, its passengers,
crew or cargo being unduly detained or delayed.
Any State Party having reason to believe that
an offence set forth in article 3 will be committed shall, in accordance
with its national law, furnish as promptly as possible any relevant information
in its possession to those States which it believes would be the States
having established jurisdiction in accordance with article 6.
1. Each State Party shall, in accordance with
its national law, provide to the Secretary-General, as promptly as possible,
any relevant information in its possession concerning:
(a) the circumstances of the offence;
(b) the action taken pursuant to article 13,
(c) the measures taken in relation to the
offender or the alleged offender and, in particular, the results of any
extradition proceedings or other legal proceedings.
2. The State Party where the alleged offender
is prosecuted shall, in accordance with its national law, communicate the
final outcome of the proceedings to the Secretary-General.
3. The information transmitted in accordance
with paragraphs 1 and 2 shall be communicated by the Secretary-General
to all States Parties, to Members of the International Maritime Organization
(hereinafter referred to as "the Organization"), to the other States concerned,
and to the appropriate international intergovernmental organizations.
1. Any dispute between two or more States
Parties concerning the interpretation or application of this Convention
which cannot be settled through negotiation within a reasonable time shall,
at the request of one of them, be submitted to arbitration. If, within
six months from the date of the request for arbitration, the parties are
unable to agree on the organization of the arbitration any one of those
parties may refer the dispute to the International Court of Justice by
request in conformity with the Statute of the Court.
2. Each State may at the time of signature
or ratification, acceptance or approval of this Convention or accession
thereto, declare that it does not consider itself bound by any or all of
the provisions of paragraph 1. The other States Parties shall not be bound
by those provisions with respect to any State Party which has made such
3. Any State which has made a reservation
in accordance with paragraph 2 may, at any time, withdraw that reservation
by notification to the Secretary-General.
1. This Convention shall be open for signature
at Rome on 10 March 1988 by States participating in the International Conference
on the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation
and at the Headquarters of the Organization by all States from 14 March
1988 to 9 March 1989. It shall thereafter remain open for accession.
2. States may express their consent to be
bound by this Convention by:
(a) signature without reservation as to ratification,
acceptance or approval; or
(b) signature subject to ratification, acceptance
or approval, followed by ratification, acceptance or approval; or
3. Ratification, acceptance, approval or accession
shall be effected by the deposit of an instrument to that effect with the
1. This Convention shall enter into force
ninety days following the date on which fifteen States have either signed
it without reservation as to ratification, acceptance or approval, or have
deposited an instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession
in respect thereof.
2. For a State which deposits an instrument
of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession in respect of this Convention
after the conditions for entry into force thereof have been met, the ratification,
acceptance, approval or accession shall take effect ninety days after the
date of such deposit.
1. This Convention may be denounced by any
State Party at any time after the expiry of one year from the date on which
this Convention enters into force for that State.
2. Denunciation shall be effected by the deposit
of an instrument of denunciation with the Secretary-General.
3. A denunciation shall take effect one year,
or such longer period as may be specified in the instrument of denunciation,
after the receipt of the instrument of denunciation by the Secretary-General.
1. A conference for the purpose of revising
or amending this Convention may be convened by the Organization.
2. The Secretary-General shall convene a conference
of the States Parties to this Convention for revising or amending the Convention,
at the request of one third of the States Parties, or ten States Parties,
whichever is the higher figure.
3. Any instrument of ratification, acceptance,
approval or accession deposited after the date of entry into force of an
amendment to this Convention shall be deemed to apply to the Convention
1. This Convention shall be deposited with
2. The Secretary-General shall:
(a) inform all States which have signed this
Convention or acceded thereto, and all Members of the Organization, of:
(i) each new signature or deposit of an instrument
of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession together with the date
(ii) the date of the entry into force of this
(iii) the deposit of any instrument of denunciation
of this Convention together with the date on which it is received and the
date on which the denunciation takes effect;
(iv) the receipt of any declaration or notification
made under this Convention;
(b) transmit certified true copies of this
Convention to all States which have signed this Convention or acceded thereto.
3. As soon as this Convention enters into
force, a certified true copy thereof shall be transmitted by the Depositary
to the Secretary-General of the United Nations for registration and publication
in accordance with Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations.
This Convention is established in a single
original in the Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish languages,
each text being equally authentic.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF the undersigned
being duly authorized by their respective Governments for that purpose
have signed this Convention.
DONE AT ROME this tenth day of March
one thousand nine hundred and eighty-eight.
Reads as "Article 7" in authentic text. Rectified 20 December 1989.