What To Know About Marine Salvage
Maritime salvage is a necessary part of shipping and maritime business. Without people and companies willing to engage in salvage activities, lives, cargo and vessels would be lost forever. It is dangerous work. The financial investment of the salvage company is high — the rewards are similarly high.
Salvage is a unique area in the already highly specialized field of maritime law. The Bluestein Law Firm, P.A., in Charleston, focuses exclusively on admiralty and maritime law and represents the interest of salvage companies, as well as owners and insurance companies.
South Carolina maritime lawyer S. Scott Bluestein has handled numerous marine salvage claims and has a firm understanding of general maritime law on salvage relating to:
- Ship grounding
- Vessel sinking
- Abandonment at sea
- Pollution caused by cargo and oil and gas spills
- Salvage rewards and compensation
Valuing Marine Salvage Awards
When vessel owners encounter trouble — a vessel sinks at the dock, discharging oil and pollutants into the water, or a vessel runs aground or must be abandoned at sea — mariners need assistance to raise or remove the vessel and cargo and to handle cleanup.
A professional salvor is a company that maintains vessels and crews especially for the purpose of salvage, with special equipment and personnel commanding the skills required for this dangerous work. Although salvage work is its business, the professional salvage company is still considered by law to be a volunteer and can claim a liberal salvage award, often exceeding the value of the services provided. (In fact, a professional salvor is entitled to a greater award than a chance salvor.)
Factors In Marine Salvage Cases
In disputes over the amount of a salvage award, the court looks into a number of factors, including whether an abandoned vessel presents an obstruction to navigation and is a likely danger to commerce.
To learn more about these issues please read our in-depth article on maritime salvage law.