Who Owns Legal Salvage Rights for Shipwreck?
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  1. #1

    Feb 2020
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    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Who Owns Legal Salvage Rights for Shipwreck?

    Hello everyone. Curious to find out about salvage rights. Hypothetical question. If a ship breaks up into small parts as it goes down and is scattered on the ocean floor, and the exploration team discover only part of the wreck. Do they still get to claim salvage rights over the entire wreck, and do they receive the credit for discovering the wreck itself, even though they only discovered part of it? Does a required percentage have to be found before any salvage claim or credit of discovery can be made? Many thanks for your assistance.

  2. #2
    Charter Member
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    ARC

    Aug 2014
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    Wellll there is a whole world of "Maritime Law".

    In which resides the definitions of what is considered what.

    But basically ... any ship in any condition is considered a "shipwreck"... even just parts... which are labeled "types" of shipwrecks... under specific terms...

    Like... Lagan... Derelicts...jetsams... flotsams... ehhh I think that's it.

    But overall... ANY ship that has been lost at sea is a "shipwreck"... all or part.

    Even floating it is a shipwreck.

    But as far as how "exact amount" of a wreck has to be there... not sure... if talking 1 plank of a deck floating...

    I think that most control figures would call it yes.
    DETECT WITH RESPECT - Have permission... Fill holes... Dispose of trash. - The Random Chat Thread - http://www.treasurenet.com/forums/ev...en-24-7-a.html

  3. #3
    ECS
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    That why there be lawyers!

  4. #4

    Feb 2020
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    9 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Cheers. A friend is researching the wreck of the Titanic. Apparently there was some legal battle back in the 1980s over who really found the Titanic because one team found a large propeller blade from the ship which fell off and they wanted to return and document more of the wreck but their expedition was cut short because of bad weather. They announced confidently that they had found the wreck and they wanted to make salvage claims for it, but around 5 years later a competitive team showed up and they searched the area and discovered the main bulk of the wreck and took all the credit, fame, and legal rights. I think the legal battle went on for years and the second team who found the main bulk of the ship had won. I am curious to learn if that was unfair because the first team found part of the ship (a large propeller blade) and they would have found more if the weather had been better, and perhaps in some measure their research was used by the second team who found the rest of the ship. I can see why the legal battle went on for some time, and I wonder if the law was changed during the proceedings which set the legal definition of how much percentage of a wreck has to be discovered before any claims can be made for legal possession of it. My friend is puzzled by it, and I would like to help him if possible.

  5. #5
    Charter Member
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    ARC

    Aug 2014
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    Quote Originally Posted by William_2020 View Post
    Cheers. A friend is researching the wreck of the Titanic. Apparently there was some legal battle back in the 1980s over who really found the Titanic because one team found a large propeller blade from the ship which fell off and they wanted to return and document more of the wreck but their expedition was cut short because of bad weather. They announced confidently that they had found the wreck and they wanted to make salvage claims for it, but around 5 years later a competitive team showed up and they searched the area and discovered the main bulk of the wreck and took all the credit, fame, and legal rights. I think the legal battle went on for years and the second team who found the main bulk of the ship had won. I am curious to learn if that was unfair because the first team found part of the ship (a large propeller blade) and they would have found more if the weather had been better, and perhaps in some measure their research was used by the second team who found the rest of the ship. I can see why the legal battle went on for some time, and I wonder if the law was changed during the proceedings which set the legal definition of how much percentage of a wreck has to be discovered before any claims can be made for legal possession of it. My friend is puzzled by it, and I would like to help him if possible.
    Correct... and the outcome of that precedent case would most likely outline any other wreck cases similar in nature.

    Unless of course...

    A NEW case's outcome now defined a new "look" at the case at hand.

    Law is a deeper subject than the depth of water the Titanic rests in.
    DETECT WITH RESPECT - Have permission... Fill holes... Dispose of trash. - The Random Chat Thread - http://www.treasurenet.com/forums/ev...en-24-7-a.html

  6. #6
    us
    Silver Fiend

    Oct 2009
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    But in the end its all completely useless because any value you salvage will be confiscated by A) the nation owning the water it sits in, B) the nation who owned the ship before it went down C) the insurance company who insured the vessel D) the heirs of every single person on board the ship. Pick above, or all.
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  7. #7
    Want to treasure dive in gin clear waters at Jupiter!

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    Quote Originally Posted by William_2020 View Post
    Cheers. A friend is researching the wreck of the Titanic. Apparently there was some legal battle back in the 1980s over who really found the Titanic because one team found a large propeller blade from the ship which fell off and they wanted to return and document more of the wreck but their expedition was cut short because of bad weather. They announced confidently that they had found the wreck and they wanted to make salvage claims for it, but around 5 years later a competitive team showed up and they searched the area and discovered the main bulk of the wreck and took all the credit, fame, and legal rights. I think the legal battle went on for years and the second team who found the main bulk of the ship had won. I am curious to learn if that was unfair because the first team found part of the ship (a large propeller blade) and they would have found more if the weather had been better, and perhaps in some measure their research was used by the second team who found the rest of the ship. I can see why the legal battle went on for some time, and I wonder if the law was changed during the proceedings which set the legal definition of how much percentage of a wreck has to be discovered before any claims can be made for legal possession of it. My friend is puzzled by it, and I would like to help him if possible.
    The words "fair, unfair and if" usually are only applicable to the context of the first person user... What is "fair" to a a prospective discoverer of a portion of an abandoned shipwreck is and will always be subject to the claims of "others" once the expense of the risks and merits of those who choose to undertake providing save harbor and recovery of a shipwreck's cargo and apparel. Just remember, the guys with the guns make the rules.... The guys with the biggest guns rules usually prevail... Just ask Tommy Thompson...
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    Since 1987 our Jupiter Wreck has continued to yield coins but the question, "Where's the rest of the Ship?" has remained unanswered...  There are 2 layers of shipwreck scatter and we are equipping the "Enterprise" to excavate the primary treasure layer.  Join with us this year!

  8. #8

    May 2014
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    In terms of the Titanic, are you talking about Jack Grimm of Abilene Texas or the RMS Titanic Corporation?
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  9. #9
    us
    May 2011
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    spain own all of them,just ask them
    brad
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  10. #10

    Feb 2020
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    Quote Originally Posted by enrada View Post
    In terms of the Titanic, are you talking about Jack Grimm of Abilene Texas or the RMS Titanic Corporation?
    I think it might be Jack Grimm. He talks about his discovery in this interview.


    https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67...83/m1/#track/1
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  11. #11
    us
    Stickmarsh Jedi Master

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    Depends how far apart the "pieces" are. Salvage leases are granted by location.
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  12. #12

    Dec 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1637 View Post
    spain own all of them,just ask them
    brad
    I think there is a law on the books that states Robert Ballard has the right to claim any wreck he wants, unless Spain claims the wreck before Ballard has a signed deal for a Nova episode...
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  13. #13
    ie
    Mr

    Jan 2016
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    The Titanic is in International water, so no nation can enforce its own laws where it does not have jurisdiction. How ever you have the UN, and of course the international salvage law and salvor in possession.
    I would think it would depend on were the rights were granted. From what I can tell with the US law you need to items from the wreck to prove you have found it and then you are granted right to all a wreckage with in a defined area.

    Example

    IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA COLUMBIA DIVISION.
    The Scattered, Commingled, Unidentified, ) Wrecked, and (for finders-right purposes) ) Abandoned, Vessels and Jetsam, ) located within an area enclosed by ) a line running from 2708N, 7912W ) to 2724N, 7907W to ) 2723.9N, 7838.43W and returning to ) 2708N, 7912W, excluding any portion ) of same within the 12 mile limits of the ) Territorial Sea of any sovereign nation, )

    The word abandoned is important, you can only claim a wreck if it has been abandoned that is defined by a period of time or if it has no owners or the owners have publicly announced they have given up all ownership of the wreck.
    So, if the people who have been granted the rights to the Titanic by an American court, have not continued ongoing salvage operations on the wreck then it could be deemed as being abandoned by them so open to another salvor. There are court cases were after a period of six months a wreck has been demand as being abandoned even after the owners employed a salvage company on a wreck.

    The other thing is, in international waters the law you are under is the nation that the ship is registered two, so even if the Titanic rights are granted to someone by a US court, there is nothing to stop anyone with a vessel not registered in the US salvaging it under the international law of salvage as long as they land the recovered cargo in another country and report it under whatever law applies in that jurisdiction .
    As a principle an admiralty court should favour the law of salvage over the law of finds, as acting under the law of salvage you are voluntary acting to recover the owners property for the owner and are claiming rewarded as salvor. Under the law of finds you are claiming there is no owner that opens up a mind field as if the owner comes along, you then you have to hand over your finds to there rightful owner with no rewarded, if there is no owner, then your fine in both cases.
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  14. #14
    pt
    Oct 2009
    Lisbon
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    The wreck of the Titanic now protected by UNESCO | United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

    Quote Originally Posted by Magoopeter View Post
    The Titanic is in International water, so no nation can enforce its own laws where it does not have jurisdiction. How ever you have the UN, and of course the international salvage law and salvor in possession.
    I would think it would depend on were the rights were granted. From what I can tell with the US law you need to items from the wreck to prove you have found it and then you are granted right to all a wreckage with in a defined area.
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  15. #15
    ie
    Mr

    Jan 2016
    Ireland
    underwater
    81
    145 times
    Shipwrecks
    Does UNESCO have legal power?

    UNESCO elaborates legal instruments in the form of declarations, recommendations and conventions, which are adopted by UNESCO's Member States. Operational principles of such legal instruments: ... In principle, a Recommendation does not create a legally binding obligation on a Member States.

    If a state has not ratified a UNESCO treaty there is nothing to stop you using a vessel registered to that state to salvage any wreck in international waters protected by UNESCO?
    Also, under the United Nations Law there is no law than can prevent an owner from retrieving their property be it a shipwreck cargo or personal effects from a shipwreck.
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