Salvage companies and protection of the marine environment: time to pay the piper?

Simon Allison

Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis

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While the traditional law of salvage was effective in reducing the loss of
property at sea the ‘no cure–no pay’ doctrine resulted in perverse
outcomes like those seen in the Torrey Canyon incident, where volunteer
salvors would protect the marine environment from the catastrophic
consequences of would be oil spills, yet be left without remuneration and
forced to bear their own costs. The development of the 1989 Salvage
Convention and its contractual alternative SCOPIC provided a much
needed exception to the longstanding ‘no cure–no pay’ rule by
introducing a safety net provision to provide some compensation to
cover the salvors expenses where they were not entitled to claim a
reward. However, the negotiators of the 1989 Salvage Convention
concluded that issues of a public law nature such as access to places of
refuge and State interference in salvage operations were best dealt with
by a separate convention. This dissertation submits that the public law
aspects of salvage law remain unremedied and continue to discourage
salvage companies from undertaking a crucial role in protecting the
marine environment. As a result, a new convention is required to
provide certainty as to the rights and obligations of parties involved in
incidents posing a potential threat to the marine environment. Will it
take another catastrophe such as the Prestige to prompt decision makers
into taking action?
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2015


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