Article 110 Improper Hazarding of Vessel
Vessel handling and maneuvering is an essential part of naval duty. Seamen
are trained on the laws and best practices of operating and behaving onboard
a U.S Navy ship. To safeguard a vessel, the lives of those aboard the
vessel, and support the strategic goals involving the vessel, the UCMJ
has implemented Article 110 – Improper Hazarding of Vessel. A person
subject to this chapter shall have:
(a) Wrongfully and willfully hazarded a vessel of the armed forces or allowed
it to be hazarded
(b) Negligently hazarded a vessel of the armed forces or negligently allowed
it to be hazarded.
The accused shall face court martial action and if convicted, be imposed
with punitive action.
Elements under Article 110
To be found guilty under this chapter, the following elements must be investigated
- The vessel of the armed forces was hazarded/put in jeopardy in a certain manner
- The accused wrongfully, willfully, or negligently caused the vessel to
or permitted the vessel to be jeopardized, through certain acts or omissions
A closer look at Article 110
'Hazard' refers to putting the vehicle in danger of damage or loss.
Actual loss or damage to the vehicle is not required. It is enough to
show that the vessel was put in danger of damage or loss.
If the vessel has suffered damage or loss resulting from collision, stranding,
after having been run upon a rock or shoal, or through any other cause,
it is conclusive evidence of the vessel being hazarded.
Stranding refers to running the vehicle aground. The vehicle should 'touch and
stick' for it to be considered stranded. If the vessel 'touches
and goes', it is not considered stranded. A
shoal can be mud, sand, bar or gravel bank that makes the water shallow.
Under this chapter, "willfully' refers to the intentional act
of the individual to cause the vessel to be hazarded. "Wrongfully"
means the accused acted in contravention to the regulation, custom or
lawful order. "Negligence" refers to failure on the part of
the accused to take due care or exercise prudence in the line of duty.
It also covers the omission to take prudent action that can be reasonably
expected from a person in his circumstance. The actions are expected to
be performed in accordance with the individual's responsibilities,
in keeping with his rank or grade. In investigating this aspect, the judge
will consider if the individual made an error in judgment that can be
reasonably expected from a person in the same circumstances. The judge
will also probe if the individual is culpable resulting from his failure
to perform his duties imposed by his responsibilities.
The individual is said to allow or permit the vessel to be hazarded if
he/she did not take any action despite knowledge of imminent danger to
the vessel, even though he/she was not in direct control of the vehicle.
Failing to report a radar target that is on a collision course with or
perilously close to the vessel is one instance of willfully permitting
the vessel to be hazarded.
The lesser included offense under this chapter is Article 80 Attempts.
Punishment under Article 110
The maximum punishment for wrongfully and willfully hazarding a vessel
or permitting it to be hazarded includes death or any other punishment
awarded by the court-martial. The punishment for negligently hazarding
or allowing an armed forces vehicle to be hazarded includes dishonorable
discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances and confinement for two
years. The counsel of an experienced UCMJ lawyer can be invaluable in
building a strong defense in the oft complex cases involving Article 110.