UNCLOS tribunals will not be able to force U.S. to release vessels apprehended by U.S. military
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Myth: The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea could order the release of a vessel apprehended by the U.S. military.
Reality: The Tribunal has no jurisdiction to order release in such a case. Its authority to address the prompt release of vessels applies only to two types of cases: fishing and17 protection of the marine environment. Further, even if its mandate did extend further – which it does not – the United States will be taking advantage of the optional exclusion of military activities from dispute settlement. As such, in no event would the Tribunal have any authority to direct the release of a vessel apprehended by the U.S. military.