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Stealing from Distressed, Stranded or Wrecked Ships

Stealing from Distressed, Stranded or Wrecked Ships is an offence under Section 153 of the Crimes Act 1900 which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

You stole or plundered any part of a vessel that was wrecked, in distress, stranded or cast on shore, or you stole property to the value of at least 2 dollars from such a vessel.

‘Vessel’ includes anything used, or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on, under or immediately above water.

‘Property’ encompasses every description of real and personal property including goods, chattels, money, valuable securities, debts, legacies, and deeds and instruments relating to, or evidencing title or right to, any property.

Defences to the charge include:

  1. Duress, and
  2. Claim of right, which means you genuinely believed you were legally entitled to the property

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