Neptune

English law does not, generally, create a legal liability whereby a person who rescues another person or saves property belonging to another person is entitled to a reward. The protection of lives at sea and of maritime property, however, is a somewhat different issue and it is of paramount importance that such rescue is to be encouraged rather than discouraged. Therefore, where salvage occurs at sea, the salvor will be legally entitled to a reward.  As early as the beginning of the 19th century, Lord Stowell in The Neptune (1824) described a salvor as: “One who, without any particular relation to the ship in distress, proffers useful service and gives it a volunteer adventurer without any pre-existing covenant that connected him with the duty of employing himself for the preservation of that ship”. This definition effectively includes two of the essential ingredients of proper maritime salvage namely voluntariness and useful service, i.e. a degree of success. The shortest and perhaps the most direct and simplest definition of salvage is probably the ‘voluntary saving of maritime property from danger at sea’. Thus we can say that the essential ingredients of a valid salvage service are: The service must be given to a legally recognised subject of salvage i.e. vessels, their apparel, cargo, merchandise, bunkers, wreck, so called freight. The service must be voluntary. The subject of the salvage must be in danger. The service must be successful. Success need not, however, be total. The Rene (1995)  A vessel answered a call for assistance but her efforts produced no success and indeed worsened the situation since the two ships collided through the fault of the salving vessel. This in itself caused the salvor’s claim to fail; but had that fault not occurred the court admitted that the owners of the salving ship would have been entitled to an award.