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WSLL @ Your Service   August 2004
An E-publication of the Wisconsin State Law Library

What's New -- Julie Tessmer   WSLL Web -- Elaine Sharp

Law of the Sea

As a Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I attended the 2004 Military Law Update Workshop, an annual conference for attorneys and Legalmen in the Reserve JAG Corps. The two day conference, held at the Naval Base Coronado, CA this past June, covered several areas of military law including the Law of the Sea, the Law of Armed Conflict and Legal Issues of Information Operations. CDR Hermen Y. Yee, JAGC, USNR presented the program on the Law of the Sea. The following is a brief summary of that program.

Oceans cover approximately 70% of the earth’s surface. Through international agreements, the oceans have been divided into two categories, national waters and international waters. National waters include internal waterways, territorial waters and archipelagic waters. International waters include contiguous zones, exclusive economic zones and the high seas.

The international standard for territorial waters is 12 nautical miles from the baseline of a country’s coast. Problems arise when countries do not abide by this standard. During the 1970s, Libya, under the rule of Muammar Qaddafi, claimed that the Gulf of Sidra was a Libyan Lake. Qaddafi assumed control of waters extending 200 miles off the Libyan coast. In 1986, under President Reagan’s orders, the U.S. Navy challenged Qaddafi’s claim on these international waters by performing naval maneuvers in the Gulf.

Another aspect of the Law of the Sea deals with vessels in distress. The Geneva Convention of the High Seas of 1958 and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) of 1958 and 1982 both contain provisions governing aid to distressed people and vessels on the High Seas. The United States has not signed UNCLOS; however, U.S. Navy Regulation 0705 requires commanding officers to abide by the principles of international law.

Master of ships are under obligation to respect and assist people and vessels in distress. In general, ports and harbors are not to deny entry to a ship in distress. One tragic illustration of aiding a vessel in distress was the Bolinao Affair in 1988. The Bolinao was a small wooden boat that was filled with Vietnamese refugees in the South China Sea. The USS Dubuque, a Navy warship, was underway to the Persian Gulf when she encountered the Bolinao adrift. The Commanding Officer of the USS Dubuque, Captain Balian, launched an investigative party to ascertain the condition of the boat and its passengers. Through a series of miscommunications, Captain Balian did not fully understand the seriousness of their condition, and therefore did not allow the refugees to board his ship. He did order that supplies including food, water and navigational directions be given to the refugees. Due to further miscommunications by an untrained translator, the refugees were mistakenly led to believe that they would be rescued by another ship within two days, and so they used up all their supplies accordingly. Adrift for another two weeks, they resorted to murder and cannibalism. Finally, eighteen days after the encounter with the USS Dubuque, a fishing boat rescued the survivors. Captain Balian was ultimately convicted by court martial for failing to give effective and sufficient assistance to persons in distress. For more on the Bolinao Affair, see this case study.

These are only a few facets of the Law of the Sea. For additional information, see the U.N.’s Oceans and Law of the Sea webpage, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea website, and the University of Washington Marian Gould Gallagher Library’s International Law of the Sea page.

  Spotlight On: Maritime Law

What is maritime law? For a brief overview, including links to applicable federal statutes, regulations, and judicial decisions and rules, visit the Law About Admiralty page of Cornell's Legal Information Institute.

Where can I find more information? Start by visiting our Admiralty & Maritime Law page. It includes links to associations and agencies such as the Federal Maritime Commission, Maritime Law Association, and U.S. Navy; specific subjects such as maritime injuries; and primary law such as the U.S. Code and CFR. Our International Law page may also be useful, especially the section on Treaties.

To find books on admiralty or maritime law in our catalog, do a LC Subject Heading search on either the word admiralty or the word maritime. Eligible borrowers may check out materials at the Library and Wisconsin-licensed attorneys may also borrow them by mail.

To identify journal articles, search the LegalTrac index.* In the Keyword search box, enter: maritime or admiralty. This will retrieve citations to over 4000 articles, so you may want to narrow (limit) your search by using date restrictions or entering additional keywords. WSLL can supply the full text of many of these articles through our document delivery service.

What is Spotlight On? It’s a new series of library materials exhibits, each one spotlighting a topic from our Legal Topics webpage. Our current display was inspired by Julie Tessmer's recent attendance at a military law seminar on Law of the Sea. (See article in this month’s What's New column)

* LegalTrac is available remotely to library cardholders. Contact us to inquire about obtaining a library card.

Amy Crowder and Julie Tessmer created this Spotlight On exhibit of WSLL maritime law materials, currently on display in the library’s Reference Area.

Learn @ The Law Library -- Connie Von Der Heide   Tech Tip in Brief -- Heidi Yelk

Fall schedule now available
Check out our fall schedule of hands-on legal research classes, now listed on our Classes & Tours page. Seating is limited for all classes, so register today!

Illinois Law & Practice
A few years ago, budget constraints forced WSLL to cancel its subscription to updates for this title. Through careful planning, we were recently able to purchase a complete new edition, which is now available for use. The call number is KFI 1265 .I4.

Electronic Miller’s insurance treatise
Readers who work in the area of insurance law will know the name Miller’s Standard Insurance Policies Annotated. It’s a looseleaf treatise used to identify caselaw relating to specific language in a variety of standard personal and commercial property & casualty insurance policies. While an excellent resource, it has become somewhat cumbersome to use, often requiring separate lookups in up to four different volumes. We’re pleased to announce that an easier to use, electronic version is now also available at WSLL.

Miller’s Expert Standard Insurance Policies Annotated is available on WSLL’s public access computers. It includes the same content as the print version: over 95,000 annotations (1978 to present) to provisions in more than 600 property & casualty policies and endorsements. What makes it better are the variety of search options, and getting complete results in just one search (no more checking supplements!). If you know the policy language, you can quickly identify the correct policy and section, and simply click on the Miller’s section identifiers to locate all pertinent case annotations. Or, begin by searching the detailed subject index, which leads to the appropriate policy section. A third option is the Ad Hoc search, which enables access to annotations by particular policy and section, specific jurisdiction, date, prevailing party, or key words and phrases.

The next time you need to use Miller’s, stop at the Reference Desk and let us show you this new and improved version. If you’re unable to visit in person, please call to inquire about having our staff search it for you.



Liquid Emergencies: Coffee on the Keyboard
Everyone knows water and computers don’t mix, but few people really follow the “no beverages near the computer” rule. What should you do if you spill a drink on your keyboard? According to Joe Kraynak, author of the Complete Idiot’s Guide to Computer Basics, 2d (Alpha Books, 2002) you need not panic. First, save your work; turn over your keyboard to let the liquid drain out and properly shut down your computer. Then, let your keyboard air dry. If the spilled drink has left a sticky residue on your keys, you may need to do a more thorough cleaning. PCWorld.com suggests a damp cloth with a mild cleanser, such as diluted dish soap. For tips on basic and intensive care keyboard cleaning see: Step-by-Step: Keep a Clean Keyboard.

Note that none of the information above applies to cordless keyboards or laptop keyboards. With laptops, essential components are located under the keyboard, which means that a spill could ruin your computer. Check with a computer professional for advice and help in dealing with spills on these devices.

Damage from spills may not be covered under warranty. If you rely on a laptop as your primary computer, you might consider purchasing insurance. Manufacturers also make “ruggedized” laptops that can withstand falls, spills, heat and more. These types of laptops are usually used “in the field” by police officers, engineers, farmers, utility workers, military personnel, etc. To find information about them, do a Google search on "rugged laptops" or "ruggedized notebooks."

Send your suggestions for future legal research Tech Tips to the editor.

Odds 'n' Endings -- Amy Crowder

Have you caught Olympics fever? If so, these sites may help:

Athens 2004
The official website of the Athens 2004 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Includes Schedule of events

NBC Olympics.com
The 7-member NBC Universal networks will purportedly telecast "the most in-depth Olympic broadcast in history." Includes Complete TV Listings

Librarians' Index to the Internet Theme Collection: The Olympic Games
Dedicated to everything about the Olympics. Includes links to websites providing information about past, present and future games; biographies of Olympic athletes; discussion of the individual events; and more.

Notables for August

August is named after Augustus Caesar, in honor of his defeat of Marc Antony and Cleopatra and becoming emperor of Rome. Did you know that the Roman Senate “stole” a day from February and added it to August? They did this so that Augustus' month would equal the length of his granduncle Julius' month – July – thereby preventing any claims that Augustus had been given an inferior month. More from InfoPlease.com.

5 -- On August 5, 1861 the first federal income tax was levied on all income over $800. See more on this Tax History Museum page.

20 -- On August 20, 1866 the newly formed National Labor Union called on Congress to mandate an eight-hour workday. See more info on this Library of Congress American Memory page.

26 -- On August 26, 1920 the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, guaranteeing all American women the right to vote.
Ask a Librarian:  800-322-9755; 608-267-9696 (In Madison); wsll.ref@wicourts.gov
Library Hours/Locations:  WSLL (WI State Law Library), DCLRC (Dane Co. Legal Resource Center), MLRC (Milwaukee Legal Resource Center)
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Connie Von Der Heide 608-267-2202 Comments welcome!