ICRC databases on international humanitarian law
Treaties and Documents
1949 Conventions and Additional Protocols, and their Commentaries
Historical Treaties and Documents
San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea, 12 June 1994
SECTION II : MEDICAL TRANSPORTS
169. In order to provide maximum protection for hospital ships from the moment of the outbreak of hostilities, States may beforehand make general notification of the characteristics of their hospital ships as specified in Article 22 of the Second Geneva Convention of 1949. Such notification should include all available information on the means whereby the ship may be identified.
170. Hospital ships may be equipped with purely deflective means of defence, such as chaff and flares. The presence of such equipment should be notified.
171. In order to fulfil most effectively their humanitarian mission, hospital ships should be permitted to use cryptographic equipment. The equipment shall not be used in any circumstances to transmit intelligence data nor in any other way to acquire any military advantage.
172. Hospital ships, small craft used for coastal rescue operations and other medical transports are encouraged to implement the means of identification set out in Annex I of Additional Protocol I of 1977.
173 These means of identification are intended only to facilitate identification and do not, of themselves, confer protected status.