Proceedings magazine is a communication tool for the Coast Guard's Marine Safety & Security Council. Each quarterly magazine focuses on a specific theme of interest to the marine industry.
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Partnerships at the Field Level Hard Water Exploring Coast Guard authorities over ice. by LT TERRENCE THORNBURGH Judge Advocate 9th Coast Guard District Legal OfÀce On Jan. 18, 2012, the U.S. Coast Guard, regional Àrst responders, and emergency management planners all participated in a rescue exercise in Green Bay, Wis., near Red River County Park. The purpose of the exercise was to simulate an emergency response to a commercial aircraft crash-landing on ice. Preparation Prior to the exercise, ice Àshermen and members of the public raised concerns about the risks an exercise might pose. As a result, the captain of the port (COTP) of Sector Lake Michigan established a safety zone encompassing all U.S. navigable waters of Green Bay within a 2,000-yard radius of Red River County Park. From Jan. 17 to 20, people and vessels were prohibited from transiting this zone. Participating agencies also gave advance notice of the safety zone to the local community, and the exercise went off without any safety zone incursions or enforcement action. Authority Gaps Creating a safety zone on ice highlights certain enforcement challenges posed by a change in the maritime environment from "soft" to "hard" water. Although the change in environment does not, in and of itself, impact the U.S. Coast Guard's authority over U.S. navigable waters, it does expose certain authority gaps in the Coast Guard's enforcement arsenal and presents capability and competency challenges, particularly with the presence of vehicle and pedestrian trafÀc on the ice. The U.S. Coast Guard's primary maritime law enforcement statute 14 U.S.C. 89(a), states: The Coast Guard may make inquiries, examinations, inspections, searches, seizures, and arrests upon the high seas and waters over which the United States has jurisdiction, for the prevention, detection, and suppression of violations of laws of the United States. For such purposes, commissioned, warrant, and petty ofÀcers may at any time go on board of any vessel subject to the jurisdiction, or to the operation of any law, of the United States, address inquiries to those on board, examine the ship's documents and papers, and examine, inspect, and search the vessel and use all necessary force to compel compliance. Petty Of¿cer Nick Schierberg and Seaman Grant Jansen of Coast Guard Station Sturgeon Bay, Wis., simulate evacuating a victim during a mass rescue operations preparedness exercise at Red River County Park, Wis. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Of¿cer Crystalynn A. Kneen. 40 Proceedings Winter 2012 | Spring 2013 This enforcement authority applies to boarding "vessels" on U.S. jurisdictional waters. Generally, the Great Lakes within the U.S. boundary with Canada www.uscg.mil/proceedings