Arming Vessels Against Friendly Nations
With over 190 countries in the world and the proliferation of nuclear armaments, friendships and alliances between nations are very important. Although the United States may not have official alliances with many nations, it still attempts to keep a neutral or friendly relationship with them. Thus, if a U.S. citizen puts these relationships in danger, the government is very serious about punishing this crime.
According to the U.S. legal code, it is illegal for U.S. resident to arm a vessel for use against a friendly nation. This includes commissioning the ship to be built, furnishing the vessel, fitting it out, and arming it, or attempting to do any of these things. Even if the person does not participate in unfriendly acts, he or she can still be charged with a crime if the ship is employed for hostile purposes. This can mean a foreign nation, ruler, people, district, etc., hiring the ship for hostile purposes, such as cruising another nation’s water space or attacking the country.
It is impossible for the government to watch every single shipyard for signs of arming vessels against friendly nations. Thus, the government relies on whistleblowers to bring the perpetrators to court on behalf of the government. This is called Qui Tam law. Additionally, the informers can have protected status if they are afraid of retribution from the criminal.
If a person is convicted of arming a vessel against a friendly nation, they must forfeit the ship as well as all its furnishings, arms, ammunition, and any stores that were meant for the vessel. Additionally, the person can face up to three years in prison. To reward people for aiding the U.S. in this matter, the whistleblower can also receive part of the forfeiture.
If you suspect a person of arming a vessel against a friendly nation or participating in any other crime against the government, you should not hesitate to bring this person to court.