A quick question about Constitues Salvage

A ship looses power 3 miles from the sea buoy (Italian Port). Winds are 35-40 knots onshore. The captain informs the pilots and they agree to send a tug to standby. The engineers get the engines back online and the ship proceeds to the sea buoy. Two miles from the sea buoy the tug arrives and takes a ship’s line from the stern. They enter the harbor and the docking is routine. The pilot gives his chit and the standard tug chit to the captain for a stamp and signature. The word ‘Salvage’ was never mentioned.

One month later the tug files a salvage claim and two months later the ship is arrested in a European shipyard until a bond is posted.

How can this be a salvage claim?

Salvage generally requires three things: a marine peril to the property, a voluntary service provided to the property; and success in saving the property from the impending peril. The “peril” does not need to be great, nor does the voluntary service provided. Those and other factors are considered when a Court determines the appropriate award for the salvage. Factors to consider are discussed in The Blackwall:

(1) The labor expended by the salvors in rendering the salvage service.
(2) The promptitude, skill, and energy displayed in rendering the service and saving the property.
(3) The value of the property employed by the salvors in rendering the service, and the danger to which such property was exposed.
(4) The risk incurred by the salvors in securing the property from the impending peril.
(5) The value of the property saved.
(6) The degree of danger from which the property was rescued.

Your scenario sounds a lot like a salvage case I was involved in. It was salvage, but the Court applied the criteria above and awarded the salvors the going rate for the tow they performed.

From your description, it sounds like the tug company wasn’t paid, and perhaps the claim could have been avoided if the bill was paid. If so, it seems recording a lien for salvage seems pretty effective, it seems to have gotten the attention of the ship-owner.


This is really good information

Obviously not as simple as " Finders Keepers"

Definitely not, even for a derelict and/or abandoned vessel.

Lloyds Open Form is still the standard salvage agreement used around the world:

Now incorporating SCOPIC clause to cover for all the work to avoid environmental damages that will be incurred, even if the salvage should fail. (No cure, no pay):