33 CFR Part Note - Application of the 72 COLREGS to territories and possessions.

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    a. Article III of the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisons at Sea, 1972 (72 COLREGS), done at London, October 20, 1972, as rectified by Proces-Verbal of December 1, 1973, provides that a party may notify the Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO, formerly Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization or IMCO) that it extends the application of the Convention to territory for which it is responsible for international relations. Since it is the intention of the United States that the 72 COLREGS apply to all U.S. territories and possessions to the same extent that the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1960 (60 COLREGS) (16 USC 794, TIAS 5813) previously applied, the United States has given notice to the Secretary-General that the provisions of the 1972 COLREGS are applicable on July 15, 1977, to the following territories and possessions for which the United States is responsible for international relations:

    Puerto Rico
    Guam
    The Canal Zone
    The Virgin Islands of the United States
    American Samoa
    Midway Island
    Wake Island
    Johnston Island
    Palmyra Island
    Kingman Reef
    Howland Island
    Baker Island
    Jarvis Island
    Navassa Island

    b. In accordance with Article III, other parties to the Convention have notified the Secretary-General that application of 72 COLREGS is extended. These parties with their territorial extensions are listed in Table 1.

    Table 1. Territorial Extensions of Other Parties to 72 COLREGS

    Party to convention Territories to which 72 COLREGS are extended
    United Kingdom Hong Kong.

    Because earlier formulations of the COLREGS were not elaborated as treaties, they came into force by the almost simultaneous enactment of domestic legislation by the majority of maritime nations. The COLREGS were judicially considered as being customary international law, that is to say international law based upon the consensus of maritime nations rather than upon an express instrument. Because 72 COLREGS was elaborated as a treaty, and under usual treaty practice only parties are bound, there may be a period of time after the 72 COLREGS come into force during which the ships of a nation not party to 72 COLREGS might not be considered as being bound to comply with the convention. While it is most likely that the 72 COLREGS will rapidly achieve the status of customary international law, thereby obviating any concern on the part of the mariner as to whether a particular nation is a party, it does not necessarily follow that the courts in all nations will apply 72 COLREGS to the vessels of a non-party nation. In the absence of changes in their domestic law there may be certain nations that will feel compelled to continue 60 COLREGS in force, despite the coming into force of 72 COLREGS.

    The following nations are Contracting Parties for which 72 COLREGS will apply upon the Convention's entry into force:

    Algeria
    Bahamas
    Belgium
    Brazil
    Bulgaria
    Canada
    Denmark
    Finland
    France
    German Democratic Republic
    Germany, Federal Republic
    Ghana
    Greece
    Hungary
    Iceland
    India
    Liberia
    Mexico
    Monaco
    Netherlands
    New Zealand
    Nigeria
    Norway
    Papua New Guinea
    Poland
    Romania
    South Africa
    Spain
    Sweden
    Switzerland
    Syrian Arab Republic
    USSR
    United Kingdom
    United States
    Yugloslavia
    Zaire

    The following nations have accepted the 60 COLREGS but are not Contracting Parties to 72 COLREGS:

    Argentina
    Australia
    Austria
    Barbados
    Burma
    China
    Cuba
    Cyprus
    Czechoslovakia
    Ecuador
    Egypt
    Fiji
    Gambia
    Indonesia
    Ireland
    Israel
    Italy
    Ivory Coast
    Jamaica
    Japan
    Kuwait
    Lebanon
    Libyan Arab Republic
    Madagascar
    Maldives
    Morocco
    Oman
    Pakistan
    Paraguay
    Peru
    Philippines
    Portugal
    Republic of Korea
    Singapore
    Surinam
    Tonga
    Trinidad
    Tobago
    Tunisia
    Turkey
    United Republic of
    Cameroon
    [CGD 77-075, 42 FR 26976, May 26, 1977. Redesignated by CGD 81-017, 46 FR 28153, May 26, 1981; CGD 95-053, 61 FR 9, Jan. 2, 1996]