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This article originally appeared in the August 2012 issue of Freelance Traveller.

The Civil Augmentation of the Navy Act (CANA), a.k.a. “The Press”, authorizes the Imperial Navy, in time of war, to impose involuntarily service requirements on privately owned vessels and their crew. Any Subsector Duke, acting as the Emperor’s local representative and in cooperation with the Imperial Navy, may invoke CANA as needed to deal with situations within his domain. Vessels and crews so pressed become part of the Subsector Navy, and by extension the Imperial Navy.

In order for a civilian vessel to be subject to CANA, the following conditions must be met:

1. The vessel is under Imperial registration;

2. The crew are Imperial citizens. Any non-Imperial personnel are allowed to leave the ship, though they are on their own from that point forward. Alternatively, so long as they are not citizens or nationals of a power deemed hostile to the Imperium they may remain onboard in service to the Imperium, possibly earning Imperial citizenship thereby.

The Imperial Navy must pay for:

  1. All costs associated with support of Imperial Navy operations and orders to include (but not necessarily limited to)
    1. Fuel
    2. Life Support
    3. Expendable Munitions (Sand and missiles)
    4. Maintenance
    5. Repairs
  2. The monthly mortgage payments for any month or part thereof during which the ship was in Naval service, not prorated for partial months
  3. Crew salaries plus 25% hazardous duty pay, for the duration of impressment
  4. Medical care for crew injured in the line of duty

While civil vessels and their crew so pressed into Imperial Navy service are subject to the orders, rules, and regulations of the Imperial Navy, they are meant to serve as auxiliaries. They are not meant to be placed in the line of battle, members of their crew may not be reassigned to another vessel, nor may other crew be assigned to such a vessel without the owner’s permission (other than a single commissioned officer as Naval Liaison, who, regardless of rank, is not in command of the ship. Command continues to reside in the ship’s legitimate master at the time of impressment).

Civilian personnel so pressed into Imperial Naval service are transferred to the Naval Reserve. Merchant Marine personnel of rank 0 – 2 are assigned the equivalent Navy NCO Rank. Merchant Marine personnel of rank 3 – 6 are assigned a Navy Commissioned Rank 2 lower (A Merchant Marine 2nd Officer, Merchant Marine Rank 4 becomes Navy Commissioned Rank 2, Sublieutenant). Free Trader personnel are assigned Naval NCO Rank 1 lower than their Free Trader Rank (minimum Naval NCO Rank 0, Crewman) except that the Master is assigned a Navy Commissioned Rank 3 lower (minimum of Navy Commissioned Rank 1, Ensign).

The Imperial Navy may make alterations to the subject vessel at Naval expense, and may provide additional equipment for use of the vessel and crew while in Imperial Navy service.

Any equipment provided by the Imperial Navy shall not be used for personal, commercial, or other purposes not in direct support of assigned Imperial Navy operations or orders. Additionally, the Imperial Navy is not responsible for any expenses, damages, or injuries arising out of actions or activities not in direct support of Imperial Navy operations and orders.

When the pressed vessel is released from Imperial Navy service, any equipment provided by the Imperial Navy shall be returned, except as permitted by the Navy on a case-by-case basis and upon application by the ship’s Master. If this requires modification to the private vessel, such modification will be at Imperial Navy expense.