Report No. 21
General.-This deals with salvage charges.
Salvage.-Even apart from marine insurance, salvage is a concept of importance in maritime law. As provided by section 6 of the (English) Maritime Conventions Act,1 1911 (1 and 2 Geo. 5, c. 57), the master of a vessel shall, so far as he can do so without serious danger to his own vessel etc. render assistance to every person, even if such a person be a subject of a foreign State at war with His Majesty, who is found at sea in danger of being lost and if he fails to do so, he shall be guilty of misdemeanour.
When such assistance is given, the right to reward for the rescue of the maritime property2 has been recognised since the time of Rome. Colliding vessels are also bound to stand by each other under section 422 of the (English) Merchant Shipping Act, 1894. Further, ships receiving a wireless distress call are bound to render assistance under section 22 of the (English) Merchant Shipping (Safety Conventions) Act, 1949. For corresponding provisions in India, see sections 402 and 34B of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 (44 of 1958) and also section 355 of that Act regarding signals of distress.
Significance of the section.-The significance of the section lies in providing that salvage charges incurred in preventing a loss by perils insured against will be recovered as a loss. This is, of course, subject to any contrary provisions in the policy. The section makes an express reference to "Maritime Law", meaning thereby the Common Law rules relating to salvage, now partly embodied in the statutory provisions quoted above.3 As the measure of liability for salvage charges, see a separate provision."4
1. See Temperley Merchant Shipping Acts, 5th Edn., p. 565.
2. As to saving of life, sections 544 (English), Merchant Shipping Act, 1894.
3. For a full discussion of the subject of salvage see
(i) Dover, pp. 671-680;
(ii) Kennedy Law of Civil Salvage.
4. Clause 74(2).