Text: S.3598 — 110th Congress (2007-2008)All Bill Information (Except Text)

Text available as:

Shown Here:
Public Law No: 110-407 (10/13/2008)




[110th Congress Public Law 407]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]


[DOCID: f:publ407.110]

[[Page 4295]]

            DRUG TRAFFICKING VESSEL INTERDICTION ACT OF 2008

[[Page 122 STAT. 4296]]

Public Law 110-407
110th Congress

                                 An Act


 
   To amend titles 46 and 18, United States Code, with respect to the 
 operation of submersible vessels and semi-submersible vessels without 
           nationality. <<NOTE: Oct. 13, 2008 -  [S. 3598]>> 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: Drug Trafficking 
Vessel Interdiction Act of 2008.>> 

SECTION 1. <<NOTE: 18 USC 1 note.>> SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Drug Trafficking Vessel Interdiction 
Act of 2008''.

                      TITLE I--CRIMINAL PROHIBITION

SEC. 101. <<NOTE: 18 USC 2285 note.>> FINDINGS AND DECLARATIONS.

    Congress finds and declares that operating or embarking in a 
submersible vessel or semi-submersible vessel without nationality and on 
an international voyage is a serious international problem, facilitates 
transnational crime, including drug trafficking, and terrorism, and 
presents a specific threat to the safety of maritime navigation and the 
security of the United States.

SEC. 102. OPERATION OF SUBMERSIBLE VESSEL OR SEMI-SUBMERSIBLE VESSEL 
            WITHOUT NATIONALITY.

    (a) In General.--Chapter 111 of title 18, United States Code, is 
amended by adding at the end the following new section:

`` 2285. OPERATION OF SUBMERSIBLE VESSEL OR SEMI-SUBMERSIBLE VESSEL 
                        WITHOUT NATIONALITY.

    ``(a) Offense.--Whoever knowingly operates, or attempts or conspires 
to operate, by any means, or embarks in any submersible vessel or semi-
submersible vessel that is without nationality and that is navigating or 
has navigated into, through, or from waters beyond the outer limit of 
the territorial sea of a single country or a lateral limit of that 
country's territorial sea with an adjacent country, with the intent to 
evade detection, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more 
than 15 years, or both.
    ``(b) Evidence of Intent To Evade Detection.--For purposes of 
subsection (a), the presence of any of the indicia described in 
paragraph (1)(A), (E), (F), or (G), or in paragraph (4), (5), or (6), of 
section 70507(b) of title 46 may be considered, in the totality of the 
circumstances, to be prima facie evidence of intent to evade detection.
    ``(c) Extraterritorial Jurisdiction.--There is extraterritorial 
Federal jurisdiction over an offense under this section, including an 
attempt or conspiracy to commit such an offense.

[[Page 122 STAT. 4297]]

    ``(d) Claim of Nationality or Registry.--A claim of nationality or 
registry under this section includes only--
            ``(1) possession on board the vessel and production of 
        documents evidencing the vessel's nationality as provided in 
        article 5 of the 1958 Convention on the High Seas;
            ``(2) flying its nation's ensign or flag; or
            ``(3) a verbal claim of nationality or registry by the 
        master or individual in charge of the vessel.

    ``(e) Affirmative Defenses.--
            ``(1) In general.--It is an affirmative defense to a 
        prosecution for a violation of subsection (a), which the 
        defendant has the burden to prove by a preponderance of the 
        evidence, that the submersible vessel or semi-submersible vessel 
        involved was, at the time of the offense--
                    ``(A) a vessel of the United States or lawfully 
                registered in a foreign nation as claimed by the master 
                or individual in charge of the vessel when requested to 
                make a claim by an officer of the United States 
                authorized to enforce applicable provisions of United 
                States law;
                    ``(B) classed by and designed in accordance with the 
                rules of a classification society;
                    ``(C) lawfully operated in government-regulated or 
                licensed activity, including commerce, research, or 
                exploration; or
                    ``(D) equipped with and using an operable automatic 
                identification system, vessel monitoring system, or long 
                range identification and tracking system.
            ``(2) Production of documents.--The affirmative defenses 
        provided by this subsection are proved conclusively by the 
        production of--
                    ``(A) government documents evidencing the vessel's 
                nationality at the time of the offense, as provided in 
                article 5 of the 1958 Convention on the High Seas;
                    ``(B) a certificate of classification issued by the 
                vessel's classification society upon completion of 
                relevant classification surveys and valid at the time of 
                the offense; or
                    ``(C) government documents evidencing licensure, 
                regulation, or registration for commerce, research, or 
                exploration.

    ``(f) Federal Activities Excepted.--Nothing in this section applies 
to lawfully authorized activities carried out by or at the direction of 
the United States Government.
    ``(g) Applicability of Other Provisions.--Sections 70504 and 70505 
of title 46 apply to offenses under this section in the same manner as 
they apply to offenses under section 70503 of such title.
    ``(h) Definitions.--In this section, the terms `submersible vessel', 
`semi-submersible vessel', `vessel of the United States', and `vessel 
without nationality' have the meaning given those terms in section 70502 
of title 46.''.

[[Page 122 STAT. 4298]]

    (b) Clerical Amendment.--The chapter analysis for chapter 111 of 
title 18, United States Code, is amended by inserting after the item 
relating to section 2284 the following:

``2285. Operation of submersible vessel or semi-submersible vessel 
           without nationality''.

SEC. 103. <<NOTE: 28 USC 994 note.>> SENTENCING GUIDELINES.

    (a) In General.--Pursuant to its authority under section 994(p) of 
title 28, United States Code, and in accordance with this section, the 
United States Sentencing Commission shall promulgate sentencing 
guidelines (including policy statements) or amend existing sentencing 
guidelines (including policy statements) to provide adequate penalties 
for persons convicted of knowingly operating by any means or embarking 
in any submersible vessel or semi-submersible vessel in violation of 
section 2285 of title 18, United States Code.
    (b) Requirements.--In carrying out this section, the United States 
Sentencing Commission shall--
            (1) ensure that the sentencing guidelines and policy 
        statements reflect the serious nature of the offense described 
        in section 2285 of title 18, United States Code, and the need 
        for deterrence to prevent such offenses;
            (2) account for any aggravating or mitigating circumstances 
        that might justify exceptions, including--
                    (A) the use of a submersible vessel or semi-
                submersible vessel described in section 2285 of title 
                18, United States Code, to facilitate other felonies;
                    (B) the repeated use of a submersible vessel or 
                semi-submersible vessel described in section 2285 of 
                title 18, United States Code, to facilitate other 
                felonies, including whether such use is part of an 
                ongoing criminal organization or enterprise;
                    (C) whether the use of such a vessel involves a 
                pattern of continued and flagrant violations of section 
                2285 of title 18, United States Code;
                    (D) whether the persons operating or embarking in a 
                submersible vessel or semi-submersible vessel willfully 
                caused, attempted to cause, or permitted the destruction 
                or damage of such vessel or failed to heave to when 
                directed by law enforcement officers; and
                    (E) circumstances for which the sentencing 
                guidelines (and policy statements) provide sentencing 
                enhancements;
            (3) ensure reasonable consistency with other relevant 
        directives, other sentencing guidelines and policy statements, 
        and statutory provisions;
            (4) make any necessary and conforming changes to the 
        sentencing guidelines and policy statements; and
            (5) ensure that the sentencing guidelines and policy 
        statements adequately meet the purposes of sentencing set forth 
        in section 3553(a)(2) of title 18, United States Code.

[[Page 122 STAT. 4299]]

                       TITLE II--CIVIL PROHIBITION

SEC. 201. OPERATION OF SUBMERSIBLE VESSEL OR SEMI-SUBMERSIBLE VESSEL 
            WITHOUT NATIONALITY.

    (a) Finding and declaration.--Section 70501 of title 46, United 
States Code, is amended--
            (1) by inserting ``(1)'' after ``that''; and
            (2) by striking ``States.'' and inserting ``States and (2) 
        operating or embarking in a submersible vessel or semi-
        submersible vessel without nationality and on an international 
        voyage is a serious international problem, facilitates 
        transnational crime, including drug trafficking, and terrorism, 
        and presents a specific threat to the safety of maritime 
        navigation and the security of the United States.''.

SEC. 202. OPERATION PROHIBITED.

    (a) In General.--Chapter 705 of title 46, United States Code, is 
amended by adding at the end thereof the following:

`` 70508. Operation of submersible vessel or semi-submersible vessel 
                        without nationality

    ``(a) In General.--An individual may not operate by any means or 
embark in any submersible vessel or semi-submersible vessel that is 
without nationality and that is navigating or has navigated into, 
through, or from waters beyond the outer limit of the territorial sea of 
a single country or a lateral limit of that country's territorial sea 
with an adjacent country, with the intent to evade detection.
    ``(b) Evidence of Intent To Evade Detection.--In any civil 
enforcement proceeding for a violation of subsection (a), the presence 
of any of the indicia described in paragraph (1)(A), (E), (F), or (G), 
or in paragraph (4), (5), or (6), of section 70507(b) may be considered, 
in the totality of the circumstances, to be prima facie evidence of 
intent to evade detection.
    ``(c) Defenses.--
            ``(1) In general.--It is a defense in any civil enforcement 
        proceeding for a violation of subsection (a) that the 
        submersible vessel or semi-submersible vessel involved was, at 
        the time of the violation--
                    ``(A) a vessel of the United States or lawfully 
                registered in a foreign nation as claimed by the master 
                or individual in charge of the vessel when requested to 
                make a claim by an officer of the United States 
                authorized to enforce applicable provisions of United 
                States law;
                    ``(B) classed by and designed in accordance with the 
                rules of a classification society;
                    ``(C) lawfully operated in government-regulated or 
                licensed activity, including commerce, research, or 
                exploration; or
                    ``(D) equipped with and using an operable automatic 
                identification system, vessel monitoring system, or long 
                range identification and tracking system.
            ``(2) Production of documents.--The defenses provided by 
        this subsection are proved conclusively by the production of--
                    ``(A) government documents evidencing the vessel's 
                nationality at the time of the offense, as provided in 
                article 5 of the 1958 Convention on the High Seas;

[[Page 122 STAT. 4300]]

                    ``(B) a certificate of classification issued by the 
                vessel's classification society upon completion of 
                relevant classification surveys and valid at the time of 
                the offense; or
                    ``(C) government documents evidencing licensure, 
                regulation, or registration for research or exploration.

    ``(d) Civil Penalty.--A person violating this section shall be 
liable to the United States for a civil penalty of not more than 
$1,000,000.''
    (b) Conforming Amendments.--
            (1) The chapter analysis for chapter 705 of title 46, United 
        States Code, is amended by inserting after the item relating to 
        section 70507 the following:

``70508. Operation of submersible vessel or semi-submersible vessel 
           without nationality''.

            (2) Section 70504(b) of title 46, United States Code, is 
        amended by inserting ``or 70508'' after ``70503''.
            (3) Section 70505 of title 46, United States Code, is 
        amended by striking ``this title'' and inserting ``this title, 
        or against whom a civil enforcement proceeding is brought under 
        section 70508,''.

SEC. 203. SUBMERSIBLE VESSEL AND SEMI-SUBMERSIBLE VESSEL DEFINED.

    Section 70502 of title 46, United States Code, is amended by adding 
at the end thereof the following:
    ``(f) Semi-submersible Vessel; Submersible Vessel.--In this chapter:
            ``(1) Semi-submersible vessel.--The term `semi-submersible 
        vessel' means any watercraft constructed or adapted to be 
        capable of operating with most of its hull and bulk under the 
        surface of the water, including both manned and unmanned 
        watercraft.
            ``(2) Submersible vessel.--The term `submersible vessel' 
        means a vessel that is capable of operating completely below the 
        surface of the water, including both manned and unmanned 
        watercraft.''.

    Approved October 13, 2008.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--S. 3598 (H.R. 6295):
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 154 (2008):
            Sept. 25, considered and passed Senate.
            Sept. 27, 29, considered and passed House.

                                  <all>