Ship boarding agreements are tangible examples of nonproliferation cooperation, providing authority on a bilateral basis to board sea vessels suspected of carrying illicit shipments of weapons of mass destruction, their delivery systems, or related materials. These agreements will facilitate bilateral cooperation to prevent such shipments by establishing procedures to board and search such vessels in international waters. Under the agreements, if a vessel registered in the U.S. or the partner country is suspected of carrying proliferation-related cargo, either one of the Parties to this agreement can request of the other to confirm the nationality of the ship in question and, if needed, authorize the boarding, search, and possible detention of the vessel and its cargo. These agreements are important steps in further operationalizing the Proliferation Security Initiative and strengthening the mechanisms that we have at our disposal to interdict suspect weapons of mass destruction-related cargoes. They are modeled after similar arrangements that exist in the counter-narcotics arena.
Proliferation Security Initiative Ship Boarding Agreements