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In Star Trek: Into Darkness, acting Captain Spock orders the crew to abandon ship. The entire bridge crew refuses to follow the order and instead remains at their stations. Sulu seems to speak for the rest of the crew:

SULU: All due respect, Commander, but we're not going anywhere.

Obviously, this is the brave and honorable thing to do - but it's still a violation of a lawful order from a superior officer.

Technically, Spock could have them all charged for disobeying orders. He could probably even have Sulu charged for "inciting" a mutiny. Presumably, Spock does the honorable thing himself and declines to have any of them charged - but does that always happen?

Has any Starfleet officer been punished for refusing an "abandon ship" order and courageously remaining at their post?

This could include a court martial, a demotion, or even just a negative report in their official duty record.

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  • I think you might want to change the title to "punished"..
    – sudhanva
    Commented Feb 10, 2018 at 10:22
  • @sudhanva good typo catch, thanks!
    – LevenTrek
    Commented Feb 10, 2018 at 10:23
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    Given that you'd only really abandon the ship if it were either going to be destroyed or without life support systems, in typical cases (i.e. no episode or movie we've seen) there probably wouldn't be anyone left to punish when it came time to hand out court martials...
    – n_b
    Commented Feb 10, 2018 at 10:45
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    Not only has there been no instance of a crewman or Officer being punished for refusing to abandon ship, but it's not entirely clear that such a thing would actually be illegal since the decision to remain with the ship after it's been abandoned is a voluntary one in most navies.
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 10, 2018 at 12:56
  • @Valorum that sounds like a well-reasoned answer. want to make it one so I can accept it? a quote or something as evidence of "voluntarily remaining on the ship" being okay would be nice, but not necessary, seeing as there aren't any other real answers
    – LevenTrek
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 2:59

1 Answer 1

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In The Autobiography of Jean-Luc Picard, we learn that (then Commander) Picard of the Stargazer countermanded the lawful order of the ship's first officer (acting as Captain after the death of her original Captain) to abandon ship. He then ordered the firing of the thrusters which bought the engineer more time to get the impulse engine back online.

“No, you don’t,” I said. This was the heart of it. I knew how hard it must have been for this young officer to stand up to his captain, because I had been in that position myself. I had disobeyed Mazzara’s order to abandon ship, risked my own court-martial because I thought the captain was wrong. It was a lonely, scary moment, and an important one.

Ultimately Picard got away with it because the First Officer wasn't willing to bring him up on the charges that would have made public his own mistake, but it's pretty clear that a court-martial was a distinct possibility.


Purely for the record, in the British Naval tradition (on which Starfleet is supposedly based, according to Gene Roddenberry), once the order to 'Abandon Ship' has been given by the captain, officers, usually including the Captain, are generally allowed to seek volunteers to help to preserve the vessel and its cargo. This, historically has included leading firefighting crews back into the ship, trying to get engines and bilge pumps working again, etc.

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