What is a Salvage Service? Part 2

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What is a salvage service? Part 2


S J Tubrazy

Carver in Carriage by Sea Vol. 2, 12th Ed. observed:‑

“One who saves or helps in saving a vessel to which he is a stranger, from danger at sea, is entitled to a reward for his services; and if he has obtained possession of the vessel, he may retain possession until he has been paid the due reward.”

Martin J. Norris in the ‘The Law of Salvage defined salvage service as under:‑

“In its simplest form salvage can be described as a service voluntarily rendered in relieving property from an impending peril at sea or other navigable waters by those under no legal obligation to do so.”

The persons engaged in salvage service can claim reward for their service. This entitlement is distinguishable from common law right where usually such claim arises under a contract. However, in salvage claim even a voluntary service rendered by a salver entitles him to an award provided other conditions necessary for grant of award are present. Grant of award to such voluntary service is based on public policy to encourage all persons in a position to render help to come forward to save a distressed vessel, cargo and life. It may be mentioned that now‑a‑days it is common that professional tugs are posted at various places in high seas to pick up distress signal and reach the derelict ship to offer salvage service. Normally such services are rendered under an agreement like in the present case which is binding provided they are voluntary and have not been obtained under duress. The salvage service may, therefore, be voluntary or under a contract but the nature and character of service as discussed above remains uncharged. Usually salvage services voluntarily performed are generously awarded as compared to the professional salvers. According to Carver:‑

“Salvage is earned in very many different ways. It may be by personal services on board the salved ship; by towing her; by protecting or recapturing her from pirates or enemies; by supplying her with me, or stores for want of which she is in danger; by enabling her (by towage) to rejoin a convoy she has dropped behind; by locating her position by a search by a Royal Air Force aeroplane; or, again by protecting or securing the ship, or her cargo, after she has been wrecked; or by giving information of clear water to a ship in an ice‑field.”


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