119. Ships and other maritime craft.

There is no general definition of a 'ship' or a 'vessel' in international law. While certain treaties contain definitions for their own purposes1, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea2 contains no such definition and does not indicate what distinguishes a 'ship' or 'vessel' from an 'offshore installation' or 'structure' such as a drilling rig or storage facility.

A ship, wherever it may be, is subject to the jurisdiction of the state whose flag it flies3. When in foreign waters it is subject to the concurrent jurisdiction of the coastal state, within the limits prescribed by international