Authorities no longer will seize boats in international waters when the vessels carry tiny amounts of illegal drugs, according to revised Customs Service and Coast Guard guidelines reported by The Washington Post.

The newspaper, which said it obtained the revisions in the administration's "zero tolerance" anti-drug policy, quoted the guidelines as saying that outside the 12-mile limit of U.S. territorial waters boats will be confiscated only when there is evidence they are importing narcotics into the country.The policy still allows the seizure inside U.S. terroritorial waters of craft with any amount of drugs aboard, the Post said, but seizing boats in international waters "is not authorized for possession alone."

The guideline alterations follow criticism from boat owners and members of Congress. Administration officials told the Post they were not backing away from their intention to crack down on illegal drug use, no matter how small, but they acknowledged the policy had been applied in some cases to extreme.