Modern Maritime Law Volume 2: Managing Risks and Liabilities




Invariably, ships find themselves in danger and need of assistance at sea for their safe navigation and prevention of marine pollution. An engine breakdown, for example, may be serious enough to put a ship in danger so as to call for a salvage tug, and, if the other prerequisites of salvage exist, the special maritime law principles of salvage will apply, which are different from those applicable to rescuers on land. ‘Salvage’ is a generic term used interchangeably to indicate either the salvage services, or salvage remuneration, or the cause of action, or the law of salvage, in the relevant context. Three very important landmarks in developments of salvage law and practice since 1980 should be noted: the Lloyd’s Open Form (LOF) 1980, introducing the ‘safety net’ as an exception to the principle of ‘no cure, no pay’; the Salvage Convention 1989, introducing special compensation for salvors with regard to their expenses incurred to protect the marine environment from pollution damage; and the Special Compensation of Protection and Indemnity Clause (SCOPIC) in 2000, improving the position of salvors. This chapter deals with the basic principles of salvage, risks and liabilities and recent developments, which include significant cases dealing with issues that had not been analysed by the English courts before, such as the meaning of ‘best endeavours’; the construction of Art 6.2 of the Convention (authority of master); the ‘disparity principle’; the extent to which the value of the salved fund affects the assessment of the award; what would or would not amount to frustration of contract for subcontracted tugs; and the new provisions of LOF 2011. Places of refuge and proposals for an environmental salvage are discussed at the end. The effect of the Wreck Removal Convention 2007 upon salvors and other oil pollution legislation are discussed in
and 16, respectively.



Brice1 defines salvage as a right in law, which arises under English law when a person, acting as a volunteer (that is, without any pre-existing contractual or other legal duty so to act), preserves or contributes to preserving at sea any vessel, cargo, freight or other recognised subject of salvage from danger. This is known to be the ‘civil salvage’ as opposed to military, which is the rescuing of property from the enemy at a time of war, for which a reward is made by the Court of Admiralty sitting as a Prize Court.

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