Monday, July 13, 2020

Salvors Seek Environmental Rewards

February 5, 2014 by  
Filed under Port Services & Renewables

Representatives of the maritime salvage industry made their case for increased payments to salvors who take actions to reduce damage to the environment.

Recently, at a meeting of maritime lawyers, the president of the International Salvage Union, said that society’s value on environmental issues was not reflected in current regulations for salvage.

Current Environmental Rewards
Since the Salvage Convention of 1989, focus on environmental impacts of wrecks has become the primary concern of regulators and the public. Salvage professionals are aware of these attitudes and have adjusted their operations appropriately.

These companies are in the best position to reduce risks to the environment due to their expertise and existing equipment, but now face expanded liability and reduced rewards for their efforts.

Salvage operators have an obligation to prevent or eliminate environmental impacts while salvaging a vessel or its cargo. Legal risks to operators have increased with tougher environmental regulations and the assignment of liability in those cases.

Also, the laws governing the sovereignty of vessels have become more stringent in the two decades since the enactment of the Salvage Convention. Piracy is now a much greater threat and some salvage actions may lead to criminal charges.

Future Environmental Rewards

Under current rules salvors are paid for their efforts to protect the environment while undertaking salvage operations by the owners of the ship and cargo and the property insurers of those assets.

Liability insurers currently do not contribute to the reward for salvage efforts to protect the environment. The ISU argues that awards to salvors should be increased to reflect the reduction in damage to the environment and reduced claims paid by liability insurers in a successful operation.

According to the ISU representative, it would be less costly for liability insurers to support salvors and allow the purchase and development of better equipment than to pay extended claims for environmental damage. Greater rewards to salvage companies would increase capabilities and reduce response time to accident sites.

Many segments of the maritime industry have begun to shift their operations to reflect society’s demand for environmental responsibility. Cruise lines have embraced the green cruising movement and the business opportunities that follow.

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