Legal High-Seas Hostage Taking?

Ratification of the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST) would mean a loss of sovereignty and burdensome extraterritorial regulation of U.S. extractive industries. In today’s Wall Street Journal, Bret Stephens provides yet another reason to avoid ratifying the treaty, in light of the recent surge in hijackings by Somali pirates.

Article 110 of the U.N.’s Law of the Sea Convention — ratified by most nations, but not by the U.S. — enjoins naval ships from simply firing on suspected pirates. Instead, they are required first to send over a boarding party to inquire of the pirates whether they are, in fact, pirates.

Silly as this is, at least it would work in its intended purpose — when a boarding party is taken hostage and doesn’t come back! For the boarding party’s late members, however, LOST may need a provision similar to whatever honors the Star Federation accords to red-shirted Enterprise crew members.