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.
Issue link: http://uscgproceedings.epubxp.com/i/707823
11 Summer 2016 Proceedings www.uscg.mil/proceedings During the course of the U.S. Coast Guard's evolution from the Revenue Cutter Service to the modern Coast Guard, 1 the organization has expanded its original narrowly tailored revenue mandate into a multimission organization, integral to the healthy functioning of modern American commerce. Maritime Law Enforcement and Protection The Coast Guard serves as the lead agency for enforcing national and international law on the high seas, outer con- tinental shelf, and inward from the U.S. exclusive economic zone to waters over which the United States has jurisdiction. The service derives this authority from 14 U.S.C. § 89, which enables the Coast Guard to investigate, examine, inspect, and search vessels, and in addition perform seizures and arrests upon the high seas and waters over which the United States has jurisdiction. The constitutionality of this broad-sweeping authority has been challenged numerous times, but federal courts have repeatedly found in the service's favor. As early as 1804, sto- ried Chief Justice John Marshall opined that countries have the right to protect their maritime commerce. 2 More recent rulings have acknowledged that while Marshall's reading is extremely broad, the crux of that argument remains true: A nation's ability to protect its interests on the high seas is paramount to its national interests. 3 In short, the Coast Guard's broad authority in this area enables the service to ensure that maritime commerce remains safe, secure, and efficient. In addition to the Coast Guard's law enforcement authority in Title 14, specifically with respect to the exclusive eco- nomic zone, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act requires the service to protect the domestic fishing industry by preventing foreign fishing ves- sels from encroaching into U.S. waters and raiding domestic fishing stocks. 4 Protecting the Maritime Transportation System Working under a diverse set of authorities, the Coast Guard maintains and operates a robust regulatory program to ensure that U.S. waterways remain safe and secure. This facilitates efficient transport of goods and services across the United States. For example: • Starting with transfer of the Lighthouse Service to the Coast Guard in 1939, 5 the service has been charged with the operation and maintenance of short- and long-range aids to navigation that are vital to both the commercial shipping sector as well as to maritime-based tourism ventures. 6 • Congress granted similar authority to the Coast Guard to issue regulations pertaining to maintaining and operating bridges over navigable water of the United States. 7 • During the 1970s, amidst a legislative climate that placed a priority on environmental protection, Congress passed the Ports and Waterways Safety Act. Among other things, it required the Coast Guard to establish and implement vessel traffic services to prevent damage to vessels, bridges, or other structures and to protect the navigable waters of the United States from environmen- tal harm. 8 Say "Cheese"! A snapshot of the Coast Guard's role in commerce on our waterways. by Mr. k ore Y J. Barr Y Legislative Counsel U.S. Coast Guard Overview On an average day, the Coast Guard facilitates movement of $8.7 billion worth of goods and commodities through the U.S. marine transportation system. —U.S. Coast Guard Posture Statement