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Armed Forces Act 2006

Section 31: Hazarding of ship

97.Causing a naval vessel to be at risk is referred to in the Royal Navy as “hazarding” a ship. In some circumstances, for example when in action against an enemy, it is common for a ship to be put at risk. Taking steps which are bound to damage a ship (by ramming an enemy vessel for instance), or to destroy a ship (to prevent its capture) might in some circumstances be justified.

98.It is an offence under this section for service personnel:

  • to cause a ship to be at risk, with the aim of causing damage to or the stranding of the ship, or causing it to sink, without a lawful excuse, or

  • to cause a ship to be at risk through recklessness or negligence.

99.An offender who intends to hazard a ship, or is reckless, may be sentenced to life imprisonment. An offender who is negligent may only be sentenced up to a maximum of two years’ imprisonment.

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