What is a Salvage Service? Part 3

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What is a salvage service? Part 3


S J Tubrazy

Having thus determined the nature of the salvage service it is necessary to examine the principles for granting salvage reward. The foremost amongst the guiding principles is to evaluate the degree of peril to which the derelict vessel was exposed and the imminent danger of loss, damage or destruction of ship, cargo and life. The value of salved property and the risk undertaken by the salvers in risking their property, the prompt action, energy and skill shown by the salvers and the time and labour spent by them in rendering the salvage service are taken into account for determining the fair amount of salvage reward. One has to take into consideration all these elements and cannot pick up only one factor for assessing the award. It may be noted that where the element of risk to derelict vessel was imminent and the danger involved and faced by the salver was high he will be entitled not only to a proper and fair but a generous award. Likewise only an attempt made unskillfully and without any result may not entitle any award. The question of granting a generous, moderate or low award mostly depends upon all the afore stated factors. The degree of peril from which the property has been successfully secured should not be the ordinary peril of the sea. It should be extraordinary peril and danger requiring extraordinary skill. The peril should be beyond the expected and normal action of wind and wave. If the derelict ship, cargo and life on board are in imminent danger of being damaged or destroyed and the salvers have made efforts by risking their life and property they will be entitled to a generous award. The weather condition at the time of rendering the salvage service may be taken into consideration while granting an award as from this factor one can gather the) degree of danger or risk to the distressed property which may be imminent or normal at sea. A normal and fair weather during the period when the service was rendered may be an appreciable actor in decreasing the quantum of award.

The instances and particulars which may be taken into consideration while determining the quantum of reward have been summarised in Law of Salvage by Martin J. Norris as follows:‑

(1) The degree of danger from which the lives and property are, rescued.

(2) The value of the property saved,

(3) The risk incurred by the salvers in scuring the property from the impending peril.

(4) The promptitude, skill and energy displayed by the salvers in rendering the service and saving the property.

(5) The value of the property employed by the salvers in rendering the service and the danger to which such property was exposed.

(6) The time and labour expended by the salvers in rendering the salvage service.”

The value of the salved property is an important element in determining the salvage award but this is not the only criterion on which the award can be passed. All the aforestated elements involved in higher or lower degree must be considered before fixing the quantum of award or decree. It was held in The Devonian 150 F 831 (D.C. Mass 1907) that merely because the value of the property saved is high does not mean that the award must also be high. However high valuation do result in a liberal award but according ‘to Martin J. Norris: ‑

“If the service is negligible or slight or where the various) elements which enhance the value of the service are lacking, the award should be low but adequate, although the salved values are high. Likewise, although the salved value is low the award can be appropriately high if the salvage service is highly meritorious one.”

In the light of the above principle and the evidence on record, the quantum of salvage reward has to be determined.


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