Vessel salvage rules

joshtrucker

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Hi everyone, I'm looking for some advice on vessel salvage/ being a salver. I work for a large vessel operator in the uk. I am employed as a shore side engineer. Several time I have rescued vessels for this operator. This is not predominantly part of my job or in my contract of work. Recently two of this companies work boats became entangled at a port and were causing severe damage in a storm force wind. I joined the vessel without instruction and rescued the vessels (20ish metre steel work boats). I would like a reward for my efforts and the danger I placed myself in. Does my contract of employment with the company forgo any salvage claim? I'm not employed as crew. Thanks
 

Billy Blue

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Hi everyone, I'm looking for some advice on vessel salvage/ being a salver. I work for a large vessel operator in the uk. I am employed as a shore side engineer. Several time I have rescued vessels for this operator. This is not predominantly part of my job or in my contract of work. Recently two of this companies work boats became entangled at a port and were causing severe damage in a storm force wind. I joined the vessel without instruction and rescued the vessels (20ish metre steel work boats). I would like a reward for my efforts and the danger I placed myself in. Does my contract of employment with the company forgo any salvage claim? I'm not employed as crew. Thanks
I would have thought that any employment specialist/ lawyer which I'm not would ask to see what your contract of employment says.
 

Bouba

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If the boats were abandoned (as in abandon ship) you could claim salvage even as a paid crew ....but were they ?
 

Minerva

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Hi everyone, I'm looking for some advice on vessel salvage/ being a salver. I work for a large vessel operator in the uk. I am employed as a shore side engineer. Several time I have rescued vessels for this operator. This is not predominantly part of my job or in my contract of work. Recently two of this companies work boats became entangled at a port and were causing severe damage in a storm force wind. I joined the vessel without instruction and rescued the vessels (20ish metre steel work boats). I would like a reward for my efforts and the danger I placed myself in. Does my contract of employment with the company forgo any salvage claim? I'm not employed as crew. Thanks
If you were a member of my team, the most likely outcome would be a very stern reprimand for acting without care and putting your and likely you colleagues life at risk.

Assets can be repaired, thats what insurance is for. Mangled bodies less so.
 

Bouba

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I tend to agree...many employment contracts might have a clause saying that you have to do as the company needs. But putting yourself in danger could lead to the company being prosecuted and even prison time.
 

petem

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Checking your contract of employment is a good start. And the laws relating to Salvage.

I wonder if it matters if you were working at the time?

I can't help thinking that this is similar to me being at work and discovering a fire, which I put out with a fire extinguisher. I'd probably get a gentle telling off but wouldn't expect any compensation.
 

14K478

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I was a salvage lawyer.

Basically the rules are:

1. The salved property must be a recognised subject of salvage.

3. The vessel and or cargo must have been in danger. Risk of being held liable for damaging some other property does not count.

4. The vessel must have been brought to a place of safety and secured there.

4. The salvor must have been a volunteer. If you are the owner of a harbour tug employed to assist a ship then absent remarkable circumstances you cannot claim for salvage services rendered to that ship. If you are a member of the crew of a ship you cannot claim for salvage services rendered to your own ship - unless you have abandoned her with no hope of returning on board her (the case here is the “San Demetrio”, 1942)

Hope this helps, The current textbook is the late Geoffrey Brice QC’s “Maritime Law of Civil Salvage”.
 
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jfm

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Hi everyone, I'm looking for some advice on vessel salvage/ being a salver. I work for a large vessel operator in the uk. I am employed as a shore side engineer. Several time I have rescued vessels for this operator. This is not predominantly part of my job or in my contract of work. Recently two of this companies work boats became entangled at a port and were causing severe damage in a storm force wind. I joined the vessel without instruction and rescued the vessels (20ish metre steel work boats). I would like a reward for my efforts and the danger I placed myself in. Does my contract of employment with the company forgo any salvage claim? I'm not employed as crew. Thanks
This is a very complex question and there isn't nearly enough information given to answer it. Petem was barking up the right tree in #7: the critical question is whether, at the moment you jumped onto the stricken vessel and rescued it, you were (a) acting in the course of your employment duties, or (b) on a "frolic of your own" to use a quasi legal term. If (a) then you have no salvage claim against your employer and if (b) you do.

There is a lot of case law on the concept of "frolic of your own", which is a term I have borrowed from vicarious liability cases where the putative on-own-frolic person (ie you) is a tortfeasor, but conceptually that should map across to this situation where you're a potential beneficiary/claimant. There is nowhere near enough information given in your post to form a view on (a) versus (b).

EDIT - I typed the above before reading the excellent post #8. My post goes to the question of whether you are a "volunteer", ie point 4 in post 8. This is as much an employment law question as it is a salvage law question. To be a "volunteer" then you need to have been on a "frolic of your own" as regards employment law. If the answer is that you were indeed on a frolic of your own and not acting in the course of your employment, then of course points 1,2,3 in post 8 still matter very much and i was assuming in my 2 paragraphs above above that points 1,2,3 in post #8 are all satisfied.
 
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Boathook

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Putting a claim in against a company that you work for will cause you problems.
I suspect that there is something in your contract about protecting company assets / reputation, and if you did it whilst at work did you follow rules and best practice and have the necessary training.
 

penfold

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Bodies are squishy and things are insured, my employer(north sea stand-by/PSV/windfarm services) is clear that they'd rather equipment was broken than people. Don't do it and having done it count yourself lucky you didn't get hurt as you'd not get compensation as you were acting outside your employment. Stuff getting burst is common at this time of year, shipping green seas on deck tests the strength of everything and takes no prisoners.
 

Bouba

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I was a salvage lawyer.

Basically the rules are:

1. The salved property must be a recognised subject of salvage.

3. The vessel and or cargo must have been in danger. Risk of being held liable for damaging some other property does not count.

4. The vessel must have been brought to a place of safety and secured there.

4. The salvor must have been a volunteer. If you are the owner of a harbour tug employed to assist a ship then absent remarkable circumstances you cannot claim for salvage services rendered to that ship. If you are a member of the crew of a ship you cannot claim for salvage services rendered to your own ship - unless you have abandoned her with no hope of returning on board her (the case here is the “San Demetrio”, 1942)

Hope this helps, The current textbook is Geoffrey Bruce’s “Law of Civil Salvage”.
I was going to quote that film…but I didn’t know if was still relevant
 

Freebee

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The last time I jumped to do something quickly about a fire, I was later told I should receive a written warning for breaking H&S and standing orders which were wait for others more equipped to act and as I left the office suitably admonished with my tail between my legs my boss said but thankyou for what you did!!

I think it would be a similar circumstance here..... plus if you then pursued a salvage claim you would be soon pursuing new employment.
 

Minerva

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The last time I jumped to do something quickly about a fire, I was later told I should receive a written warning for breaking H&S and standing orders which were wait for others more equipped to act and as I left the office suitably admonished with my tail between my legs my boss said but thankyou for what you did!!

I think it would be a similar circumstance here..... plus if you then pursued a salvage claim you would be soon pursuing new employment.

Having worked in an environment where workplace deaths have occurred, I can assure you we have a zero tolerance approach to this sort of stupid behaviour the OP listed. He would be instructed to stop immediately and receive the bollocking of his working like and a probable suspension.

He might think he's billy big balls or the next Rambo action hero out there saving the day, but he won't be the poor sod making the call to is Next of Kin to say he's been crushed to death. Nor will he be the one having to deal the the HSE & police when they come and shut down operations whilst they crawl all over the scene and paperwork, investigate and perhaps even go to court for. He also won't be the numerous poor sods who will have the sight of smeared, mangled and crushed body of a colleague immutably etched into their memories for ever more.

To add insult to injury more, as he was acting outside of his remit, skills and role, his actions would also likely stop his dependants receiving compensation for his death and possibly plunging them into financial turmoil.
 

Seastoke

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After reading this again , it sounds like bull, how can one mane save 2, 20 metre steel boats . You should b e working for Spielberg.
 

Egbod

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My possibly outdated viewpoint is based on what I was told about RNLI some years ago.
The RNLI would never claim salvage. The crew could claim salvage (but this is very rare). If the crew claim then they have to pay the costs of the lifeboat which they do not own.
Any salvage paid would be reduced to take account of the crew were not risking their own vessel. I must emphasise that this interpretation may not be valid in 2023.
 

14K478

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My possibly outdated viewpoint is based on what I was told about RNLI some years ago.
The RNLI would never claim salvage. The crew could claim salvage (but this is very rare). If the crew claim then they have to pay the costs of the lifeboat which they do not own.
Any salvage paid would be reduced to take account of the crew were not risking their own vessel. I must emphasise that this interpretation may not be valid in 2023.
It is still correct but it is now almost unheard of for an RNLI crew to make a claim. The RNLI have the rule because, long ago, many lifeboats were manned by “longshoremen” who would otherwise have manned their own beach boats to get to a casualty and claim salvage, rather than man the RNLI lifeboat and get nothing.
 

Poecheng

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Having worked in an environment where workplace deaths have occurred, I can assure you we have a zero tolerance approach to this sort of stupid behaviour the OP listed. He would be instructed to stop immediately and receive the bollocking of his working like and a probable suspension.

He might think he's billy big balls or the next Rambo action hero out there saving the day, but he won't be the poor sod making the call to is Next of Kin to say he's been crushed to death. Nor will he be the one having to deal the the HSE & police when they come and shut down operations whilst they crawl all over the scene and paperwork, investigate and perhaps even go to court for. He also won't be the numerous poor sods who will have the sight of smeared, mangled and crushed body of a colleague immutably etched into their memories for ever more.

To add insult to injury more, as he was acting outside of his remit, skills and role, his actions would also likely stop his dependants receiving compensation for his death and possibly plunging them into financial turmoil.
Harsh words but entirely justified and every word is correct.
I have dealt with matters quite some distance after the event (and, believe me, that is close enough) and it is clear that the life of a human can be extinguished very quickly and very easily where heavy things are capable of moving.
Acting as the OP did is the wrong response, in a modern society, to the hazard and attendant risk; it is a risk to his life (and perhaps that of others) and no good whatsoever comes from it, even if he thought it would.
 
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