Section 9 Life salvage

3.9.1 General

According to the International Convention on Salvage of 1989 (the Salvage Convention), those who own property or other assets saved at sea have an obligation to pay a reasonable compensation to a successful salvor. The salvage award is shared between the Hull underwriter and the cargo underwriter in proportion to the values saved. Where the salvage can be referred back to unseaworthiness, the Owner of the ship may also have to pay the cargo’s share of the award. Cover for such payment is provided by Rule 7 Section 4.

3.9.2 Life salvage Lives alone saved

Lives are often endangered in a marine casualty. It is recognised as a public duty that those who are in a position to do so or have suitable means available should render all possible assistance to save human lives. Under the Salvage Convention no awards are due when lives alone have been saved from either the person saved or from the Owner of the ship in distress. Lives and property saved

According to the Salvage Convention, awards in respect of life salvage can be granted when the service was undertaken to salve property and it was possible to save lives at the same time.

Most Hull and cargo policies exclude cover for any part of the salvage costs which are attributed to life salvage.

In order not to leave the Member uninsured for the balance between the full salvage award and what is recoverable from the Hull and cargo underwriters for the salvage of property, the obligation to compensate life salvors is covered under this section. Sums recoverable from Hull and cargo underwriters

The last part of the clause underlines that the cover is only for such parts of the salvage award which are not recoverable under the Hull policy of the entered ship or from the owner of cargo or its underwriter. Members are advised to consult the Club in cases of life salvage to ensure that all possibilities of recovering the costs from other underwriters have been exhausted. Persons on or from the entered ship

The cover under this clause is not restricted to life salvage of crew members. The word “persons” implies that the cover is for any kind of persons who might have been on board the entered ship such as passengers, stowaways, pilots and riding repair teams.

The person should have been on or come from the entered ship. “From” includes people in lifeboats, even after the total loss of the entered ship.

3.9.3 Charges by other ships for standby, search or rescue

Following the general duty to render assistance when lives are endangered at sea, ships may be engaged in search or rescue or be required to stand by a ship in distress. A loss will arise for the assisting ship since her running expenses will continue. The ship may be put off-hire or miss a cancelling date. Claims are sometimes filed for such losses against the Owner of the ship to which the assistance was rendered.

Such assistance does not constitute life salvage. In principle, the Owner of the assisted ship has no legal obligation to compensate losses of that kind. Therefore, there is no cover under these Rules for the services rendered. Members are still advised to refer such claims to the Club for handling and advice.

Situations may arise, however, when some compensation is reasonable, for instance when the extent of the assistance rendered had a favourable effect on the settlement of loss of life claims or when the absence of assistance might have constituted negligence on the part of the Member. If the circumstances of the individual case warrant compensation to any extent for such charges, cover may follow under Rule 8 Section 2.

It may also be possible to reach a sharing agreement of such charges with other underwriters concerned, as they may have been incurred in the mutual interest of the ship together with the people and cargo on board.

On application, the Club may consider exercising its discretionary power to compensate a Member under Rule 19, the Omnibus Rule.

3.9.4 Charges by other parties for search and rescue

When requested to render service for search and rescue in a marine casualty, it may be that private or official parties such as naval and air forces not only claim reimbursement for their costs but also demand a guarantee before initiating the search and rescue. Members are advised to report any such requests to the Club. It follows from Rule 12 that the Club has no obligation to provide security.

3.9.5 Convention to promote search and rescue

According to the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue of 1979, several countries have undertaken to ensure that necessary arrangements be made for the provision of adequate search and rescue services for persons in distress at sea around their coasts.