0854. Hospital Ship or Medical Aircraft
1. The commanding officer of a hospital ship or the commander of a medical aircraft shall be responsible for complying with the appropriate provisions of the Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of the Armed Forces at Sea of 12 August 1949. Where necessary to the fulfillment of this responsibility, a departure from other provisions of Navy Regulations is authorized.
2. One of the central requirements under the 1949 Geneva Convention is that the ship or aircraft maintain a non-combatant status. Under this Convention, the following conditions do not deprive hospital ships or medical aircraft of their non-combatant status:
a. The fact that the crews are armed for the maintenance of order, for their own defense or that of the sick and wounded.
b. The presence on board of apparatus exclusively intended to facilitate navigation or unclassified communications.
c. The discovery on board hospital ships or in sick bays of portable arms and ammunition taken from the wounded, sick and shipwrecked and not yet handed to proper authorities.
d. The fact that humanitarian activities of hospital ships or of the crews extend to the care of the wounded, sick or shipwrecked persons.
e. The transport of equipment and of personnel intended exclusively for medical duties, over and above normal requirement of the hospital ship.