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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2004 > August
Fact Sheet
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
August 14, 2004


The United States and the Republic of the Marshall Islands Proliferation Security Initiative Shipboarding Agreement

On Friday, August 13, 2004, the United States and the Republic of the Marshall Islands signed a reciprocal maritime Shipboarding Agreement in support of the Proliferation Security Initiative. Marshall Islands Foreign Minister Gerald Zackios and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Randy Schriver signed the agreement.

The Proliferation Security Initiative announced by President Bush on May 31, 2003 seeks to establish cooperative partnerships worldwide to prevent the flow of weapons of mass destruction, their delivery systems, and related materials to and from states and non-state actors of proliferation concern.

The Shipboarding Agreement will facilitate cooperation between the U.S. and the Marshall Islands to prevent shipments by sea of weapons of mass destruction, their delivery systems, or related materials by establishing procedures to board and search vessels suspected of carrying such items that are located in international waters. If a U.S. or Marshall Islands flagged vessel is suspected of carrying proliferation-related cargo, either Party to this agreement can request the other to confirm the nationality of the ship in question and, if needed, to authorize the boarding, search, and possible detention of the vessel and its cargo.

Contributions to the Proliferation Security Initiative: The Marshall Islands is the third state to sign a Proliferation Security Initiative Shipboarding Agreement with the U.S.; Liberia was the first to sign on February 11, 2004, followed by Panama on May 12, 2004. The combination of the Marshall Islands, Liberia, and Panama, plus commitments by Proliferation Security Initiative partners, means that more than 50 percent of commercial shipping fleet dead weight tonnage is now subject to rapid action consent procedures for boarding, search, and seizure by the United States.

Benefits to Shipping and Commerce: Signing the Shipboarding Agreement demonstrates the Marshall Islands' commitment to engender greater confidence and security in its flag registry, the world's eleventh largest by gross tonnage. It bolsters the reputation of the Marshall Islands' ship registry and the confidence of those involved in the shipping trade that the Marshall Islands government is working to ensure that Marshall Islands flagged ships are not misused.

For additional information on the Proliferation Security Initiative, please see http://www.state.gov/t/np/c10390.htm

2004/903


Released on August 14, 2004

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