US Coast Guard Protests GPS Disruption to UN Body: ‘Urgent Issue’

Responding to a plea from 14 maritime organisations in the fall of 2019, the U.S. Coast Guard has protested disruption of GPS and GNSS signals to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) IMO is the United Nations body that coordinates and sets standards for international maritime operations and safety.

In a paper dated March 10, the service said that GNSS signals are “essential to safe and efficient navigation and an integral component of all maritime operations.” Interfering with them “jeopardizes the safety of life at sea.” Deliberate disruptions in the eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea, the paper says, affect vessels operating in international waters and engaged in innocent passage through territorial seas.

While nations typically have a right to do as they wish in their sovereign territory, they are also obliged to not have that intrude into other nations’ territory or international waters. This is also true for vessels passing through their waters but not calling at their ports, known as “innocent passage.”

The International Law of the Sea Treaty stipulates that, in the absence of some clear wrongdoing such as piracy, drug smuggling or discharging oil, vessels be allowed to pass through territorial seas unmolested by the coastal state. The Coast Guard paper also points out that nations have other treaty obligations that prohibit this kind of activity. International Telecommunication Union Radio Regulations prohibits “All transmissions with false or misleading identification…”

Read more in GPS World article.

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