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18 U.S. Code § 2279 - Boarding vessels before arrival

Whoever, not being in the United States service, and not being duly authorized by law for the purpose, goes on board any vessel about to arrive at the place of her destination, before her actual arrival, and before she has been completely moored, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.

The master of such vessel may take any such person into custody, and deliver him up forthwith to any law enforcement officer, to be by him taken before any committing magistrate, to be dealt with according to law.

Historical and Revision Notes

Based on section 708 of title 46, U.S.C., 1940 ed., Shipping (R.S. § 4606).

“Law enforcement officer” was substituted for “constable or police officer” and “committing magistrate” for “justice of the peace.” The phraseology used in the statute was archaic. It originated when the government had few law enforcement officers and magistrates of its own.

References to specific sections were made to read: “according to law” to achieve brevity.

Mandatory punishment provision was rephrased in the alternative.

The words “without permission of the master” were deleted to remove an inconsistency with the provisions of section 163 of title 46, U.S.C., 1940 ed., and customs regulations. Customs regulations, 1943, section 4.1c, prohibit any person “with or without consent of the master” from boarding vessel, with specific enumerated exceptions. Said section 163 prescribes a “penalty of not more than $100 or imprisonment not to exceed six months, or both” for violating regulations. The revised section increases the fine from $100 to $200 for boarding the vessel “with the consent of the master.”

Minor changes were made in phraseology.

Editorial Notes

1994—Pub. L. 103–322 substituted “fined under this title” for “fined not more than $200” in first par.