UNCLOS would prevent U.S. from responding to threats of environmental terrorism by restricting maritime interdiction operations
Yet another “environmental impact” could arise from limitations the treaty imposes on measures we might take to assure our national security and homeland defense. If, for instance, foreign vessels operating on the high seas do not fit into one of three categories (i.e., they are engaged in piracy, flying no flag or transmitting radio broadcasts), LOST would prohibit U.S. Navy or Coast Guard vessels from intercepting, searching or seizing them.
As you know Mr. Chairman, such constraints would preclude President Bush’s most important recent counterproliferation measure – the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI). The same would be true, however, if the crew of the foreign ship was engaged not in the sort of activity the PSI is meant to interrupt (namely, the covert transfer of weapons of mass destruction and/or related equipment), but in the shipment of heavy crude oil or other toxic materials that could cause an environmental disaster were the vessel to be blown up or scuttled in or near our waters.