18 U.S. Code § 1658 - Plunder of distressed vessel
(a) Whoever plunders, steals, or destroys any money, goods, merchandise, or other effects from or belonging to any vessel in distress, or wrecked, lost, stranded, or cast away, upon the sea, or upon any reef, shoal, bank, or rocks of the sea, or in any other place within the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.
(b) Whoever willfully obstructs the escape of any person endeavoring to save his life from such vessel, or the wreck thereof; or
Whoever holds out or shows any false light, or extinguishes any true light, with intent to bring any vessel sailing upon the sea into danger or distress or shipwreck—
Shall be imprisoned not less than ten years and may be imprisoned for life.
Source(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 775; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(1)(K),Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2147.)
Historical and Revision Notes
Based on title 18, U.S.C., 1940 ed., § 488 (Mar. 4, 1909, ch. 321, § 297,35 Stat. 1146).
Mandatory punishment provision in subsection (a) was rephrased in the alternative.
Minor changes were made in phraseology.
1994—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 103–322substituted “fined under this title” for “fined not more than $5,000”.