January 3, 1989
To the Senate of the United States:
With a view to receiving the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification, I transmit herewith the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation, and the related Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Fixed Platforms Located on the Continental Shelf, signed at Rome on March 10, 1988. I also transmit, for the information of the Senate, the report of the Department of State with respect to the Convention and Protocol.
The seizure of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro in 1985, and the murder of American passenger Leon Klinghoffer, demonstrated that no country, or form of transportation, is immune from the criminal savagery of those who engage in terrorist acts. This Convention is aimed at ensuring that those who engage in such acts on board or against ships engaged in navigation are brought to justice. The Protocol would do the same with respect to acts on or against fixed platforms on the continental shelf. Modeled on earlier conventions dealing with aircraft hijacking and sabotage (to which the United States is a party), they include provisions requiring States to provide severe punishment for such offenses, and to extradite or prosecute those who commit them.
Work on the Convention and Protocol began in 1986 under the auspices of the International Maritime Organization on the basis of an initial draft cosponsored by the Governments of Italy, Austria and Egypt. That work was completed, and the Convention and Protocol adopted by consensus, at an international conference in Rome in March 1988. The United States and 22 other States signed the Convention at that time, and the United States and 20 other States signed the Protocol. It is clear that the Convention already has broad support in the international community, and it is hoped that all States will join in this major step to deter acts against the safety of maritime navigation.
I recommend, therefore, that the Senate give early and favorable consideration to this Convention and Protocol and give its advice and consent to ratification.
The White House,
January 3, 1989.