Tuesday, 28 June 2011
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
I propose to take Questions Nos. 561 to 563, inclusive, together.
The Merchant Shipping (Salvage and Wreck) Act 1993 governs Salvage and Wreck issues. The day to day operation of the Act is the responsibility of the relevant Receiver of Wreck, who is an official of the Revenue Commissioners (Customs). Salvage services for a state owned vessel are regulated in law in the same manner as other vessels. Under Section 32 of the Merchant Shipping (Salvage and Wreck) Act, 1993, the owner, including the State, of a vessel, may prohibit its salvage. However the circumstances of this individual case are not known to me so I cannot comment on any insurance implications.
In general, depending on the individual case involved, the Receiver of Wreck, and/or an arbitrator, or the High Court, will determine whether or not payment is due to a salvor, and, if payment should be made, the amount and basis for such payment in relation to salvage operations carried out. In the case of a wreck which has been found and delivered to the Receiver of Wreck, the Receiver will restore the wreck to its owner, but not before payment of any salvage costs due. Any party not satisfied with the decision of the Receiver may seek to have the matter decided by an arbitrator or the High Court.
Since the Receiver of Wreck deals with the payment of salvage costs, the salvor should be aware of the return of the vessel to its owner. However as the current legislation stands, there is no legal obligation on the Receiver of Wreck to inform the salvor of the return of a vessel to its owner.