(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.

Terms Used In 46 USC 70508

  • Evidence: Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
  • individual: shall include every infant member of the species homo sapiens who is born alive at any stage of development. See
  • officer: includes any person authorized by law to perform the duties of the office. See
  • vessel: includes every description of watercraft or other artificial contrivance used, or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on water. See

(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;

(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.