Federal Criminal Laws on Seamen and Stowaways

Safety at sea is of paramount importance. In order to protect seamen and those aboard vessels on open waterways, there are strict federal laws in place governing seamen and stowaways. When those laws are violated, federal criminal charges may be brought that result in serious penalties.

If you live in Arizona, California, Utah, Nevada, Oregon, or surrounding areas and you are facing charges under federal laws related to seamen and stowaways, you should reach out to LV Criminal Defense.

Our federal criminal defense lawyers have extensive experience representing clients accused of wrongdoing at sea. We understand the complex laws applicable to federal crimes on open waterways and we will put our legal knowledge to work to help you navigate the criminal justice system with the goal of avoiding or lessening penalties.

To find out more about the ways in which our firm can help you to fight charges, give us a call today.

Federal Laws on Seamen and Stowaways

Federal laws on seamen and stowaways can be found within 18 U.S. Code Chapter 107. A total of nine different statutes within Chapter 107 address different issues in connection with these offenses, including cruelty to seamen as well as situations where seamen revolt. There was one statute within Chapter 107 that was repealed, but the remaining laws include the following:

  • 18 U.S. Code section 2191 – Cruelty to seamen: Under this statute, master or officers of vessels on the high seas or waters in U.S. jurisdiction can be charged and convicted for beating, wounding, flogging, or imprisoning the crew of a vessel without justifiable cause. Masters or officers can also be charged for withholding food and water or inflicting corporal punishment or cruel or unusual punishment. The maximum penalty for conviction is five years imprisonment.
  • 18 U.S. Code section 2192 – Incitation of seamen to revolt or mutiny: Crews who try to make mutiny could be sentenced to up to five years imprisonment under this statute. Those who conspire to or prompt others to revolt or who stir up crews to disobey or resist can also be charged under this statute.
  • 18 U.S. Code section 2193 – Revolt or mutiny of seamen: Crews and seamen who use force, fraud, or intimidation to usurp control of a vessel from a master or lawful officer and deprive the master of rightful authority can be imprisoned for up to 10 years under this statute.
  • 18 U.S. Code section 2194 – Shanghaiing sailors: This statute prohibits procuring or inducing others by force or threats to perform labor on board U.S. vessels or convincing others to sign or enter into an agreement to perform labor on a vessel while intoxicated. The penalty for violating this statute could be up to a year of imprisonment.
  • 18 U.S. Code section 2195 – Abandonment of sailors: Causing or forcing an officer or mariner to leave a sailor behind without justification can result in up to six months of imprisonment under this statute.
  • 18 U.S. Code section 2196 – Drunkenness or neglect of duty by seamen: Masters, radio officers, and others employed on a vessel who do acts tending to jeopardize the vessel or put lives at risk due to intoxication can be found guilty and imprisoned for up to a year under this statute.
  • 18 U.S. Code section 2197 – Misuse of Federal certificate, license or document: This statute imposes a penalty of up to five years of imprisonment for altering, attempting to alter, forging, counterfeiting, or stealing federal licenses, documents, or certificates issued by the U.S. to vessels, officers, or seamen.
  • 18 U.S. Code section 2199 – Stowaways on vessels or aircraft: Those who stowaway without consent can be imprisoned for up to five years, unless the stowaway acts with intent to commit seriously bodily injury and actual injury occurs in which case the maximum penalty is 20 years of imprisonment.

It is important to understand the specific statute you have been charged with violating so you will better understand what a prosecutor must prove to secure a conviction against you.

Top Rated Criminal Lawyer

Nick Wooldridge has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in Nevada.


LV Criminal Defense can provide necessary insight into the essential elements of the crime you have allegedly committed.

5 Star30 reviews

Getting Help From A Federal Criminal Defense Law Firm

LV Criminal Defense knows the laws on seamen and stowaways inside and out and we have the necessary knowledge and experience to help you respond to accusations of wrongdoing under 18 U.S. Code Chapter 107. We will work closely with you to evaluate the nature of the evidence against you, to apply the highly technical laws applicable to behavior on the high seas, and to determine if you should plead not guilty or try to negotiate a favorable plea agreement.

Our federal criminal defense lawyers are experienced negotiators and we know how prosecutors work when it comes to prosecuting seamen and stowaways. With our insider knowledge of this area of law, we can help you to get the charges dropped or get a recommendation of a reduced sentence if you decide to plead guilty to the crimes you have been accused of. We are also prepared and ready to go to court on your behalf, present evidence, introduce reasonable doubt or raise affirmative defenses, and help you to get acquitted if you want to fight charges.

Our firm will help you to decide which legal strategy for responding to charges is likely to result in the most favorable possible outcomes and we will devote our considerable legal knowledge to helping you navigate the criminal justice system when faced with serious charges under 18 U.S. Code Chapter 107.

We represent clients in California, Arizona, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, or surrounding areas, so if you live in these locales, give us a call today to find out more about the ways in which our legal team can help you.

Address: 400 S, 7th Street #401, Las Vegas, NV 89101 United States, 400 S, 7th Street #401, 89101, US, $$$ | Tel: + 1 (702) 623-6362
Address: 400 S, 7th Street #401, Las Vegas, NV 89101 United States, 400 S, 7th Street #401, 89101, US, $$$ | Tel: + 1 (702) 623-6362

What Our Client are saying

When I initially met with Mr. Wooldridge, he took the opportunity to sit and go over my problem with me. He described details in my case which he found disturbing and explained why he I should have him on my side.

Contact Now