A Practical Guide to Salvage and Places of Refuge - (For Shipboard Use)

Number of Pages:
Published Date:
June 2022
Book Height:
210 mm
Book Width:
297 mm
1.5 kg
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This Guide deals with the practical aspects of salvaging a ship and the implications for a ship that requires a Place of Refuge.

This Guide does not seek to explain all the aspects of salvage, that is a matter for salvage experts and would be determined on-site based on the situation as presented. However, it does introduce the main salvage techniques employed and, importantly, gives you an understanding as to who the various roles and positions in any salvage operation, which can be quite daunting. While simple operations may only have 12 persons, it can still be confusing as to who is in charge when you are presented with a Salvage Manager, Senior Salvage Master, Salvage Master, Salvage supervisor etc.

A requirement for a ship to seek a place of refuge was given much attention in the media in the cases of the ERIKA, CASTOR and PRESTIGE. The thought of being turned away from a country when your vessel needs assistance to prevent a much larger maritime incident or casualty is perhaps one of the top nightmare scenarios for any Shipmaster. Ideally no ship should be refused a Place of Refuge when requested and, in the EU, it has been agreed that there is a 'no rejection without inspection'.

This Guide contains comprehensive guidance on the two related aspects of salvage and Place of Refuge for the shipmaster, bridge team and the ship owning/operating company.

If a ship is involved in a serious incident such as explosion, fire, collision, grounding, structural failure, or ingress of water it will require external support, to save the crew, ship or cargo and protect the environment from the threat of pollution. This assistance will usually involve the appointment of professional salvors by the Master or owners.

A roadmap recommending actions that can be taken by the master and crew are given in the joint publication by International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) ‘Peril at Sea and Salvage: A Guide to Masters’. This Guide has been prepared principally with oil tankers and gas carriers in mind, but applies to most vessels. The ships should take prompt action, using their expertise and emergency equipment held onboard.

The Master must advise all the stakeholders in the ship and voyage, including contacting the owners or managers and advise them of the situation. They in turn should inform the Hull and Machinery Underwriters and the Protection & Indemnity Club (P&I Club), charterers, cargo interests, etc. The Master must inform the coastal State, reporting details of the ship, the type of emergency, the situation onboard, if there is any pollution and what the risks to other vessels and to the environment.

After the extent of emergency has been determined, it may be possible to proceed to a place of refuge. Alternatively, the Master and shipowner can request salvage assistance by contracting a salvage company to carry out a salvage operation, with either a salvage team or by providing a salvage tug with the required bollard pull to tow the vessel to safety.

The type of salvage contract depends on the urgency of situation and usually takes the form of an open contract such as Lloyds Open Form Salvage Agreement (LOF) where the amount of the salvage payment or award is decided after operations. Where there is less urgency, a contract can be negotiated or a standard contact can be used such as available from the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO) including those for Salvage, Towage and Wreck Removal.

This book, ‘Practical Salvage Considerations and Port of Refuge’, gives an insight into the work of the salvors and an understanding of the salvage process. It is meant to be instructional, informative and interesting.

After an initial survey, the Salvage Master will produce a salvage plan deciding how many skilled salvage crew are needed and what specialist equipment is required. The first action is to stabilise the vessel to ensure that conditions do not deteriorate. A Place of Refuge may be necessary to permit the salvage operation to be completed safely with a minimum of risk to the environment. This place of refuge could be in a port to allow discharge of cargo and carry out repairs or in a sheltered bay to allow a ship to ship transfer (STS) of cargo.

A formal request will be made to the coastal State for permission to enter their jurisdiction to a Place of Refuge for salvage repairs. For this permission to be granted, the danger to the coastal State must be assessed. If the authorities feel that the danger is too great then permission will be denied. This danger could include environmental pollution, threat of explosion, etc.

If the salvage procedure is unsuccessful the situation can change in to a wreck removal operation. A Wreck Removal Order can be issued by the local authorities and the wreck removed by salvors under a contract from insurers. The order can be issued because of a threat to the environment, a navigational hazard such as a submerged wreck blocking a channel, if local amenities are affected or the wreck is causing economic disruption.

After the successful completion of the salvage operation the salvors can claim a salvage award based on the salved value of the vessel and cargo, the salvage expenses, the danger and the levels of risks. Alternative, for LOF contracts, the Special Compensation P&I Club (SCOPIC) clause can also be used.

John Nixon

Part A Understanding Salvage
1 Introduction
1.1 The Response of the Master
1.2 Initial Actions
1.3 Parties to Salvage
1.4 The Role of the Salvor
1.5 The Role of the Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC)
1.6 The Difference between Distress and Salvage
2 Understanding the Situation
2.1 Stages of Salvage
2.2 Types of Salvage
2.3 Media Management and Communications
3 Initiating the Request for Salvage
3.1 Ship’s Master – Notify Company
3.2 Ship Owner – Engage Salvor
3.3 Salvor – information Gathering from the Ship Owner
4 Initial Engagement with the Salvor
4.1 Commercial Approaches
4.2 Appointing the Salvor/Salvage Tender
4.3 Agreement of Salvage Services
4.4 Salvage Mobilisation
4.5 Salvage Operational Challenges
4.6 Salvage Companies and Other Organisations
Part B Practical Salvage Considerations
5 Ship Information and Status
5.1 General Information to be Provided by the Ship
5.2 Stability Considerations
5.3 Additional Documents
5.4 Actions that Can be Taken by the Ship
6 Towage Considerations
6.1 Estimating the Bollard Pull Required
6.2 Bollard Pull Capability of Tugs
6.3 Emergency Towing
6.3.1 Tanker emergency towing arrangements – aft
6.3.2 Tanker emergency towing arrangements – forward
7 Salvage Activities and the Salvage Plan
7.1 The Salvage Survey
7.2 The Preliminary Salvage Response
7.3 The Salvage Plan
7.4 Salvage Operations
7.4.1 Patching
7.4.2 Pressurising tanks
7.4.3 Portable pumps
7.4.4 Bunker removal
7.4.5 Cargo removal
7.4.6 Fire-fighting
7.4.7 Pollution control
7.4.8 Heavy lifting
7.4.9 Diving
7.5 Specialist Contractors
7.6 The Termination/Completion of the Salvage Contract
8 Environmental Protection
8.1 Environmental Response from Coastal States
8.1.1 Europe
8.1.2 USA
8.1.3 Australia
8.1.4 United Kingdom
8.1.5 NCP operational section
8.2 Environmental Case Studies
8.3 Environmental Conventions and Regulations
8.3.1 International agreements
8.3.2 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)
8.3.3 Payment for clean-up costs
8.4 Removal of Pollutants (oils and chemicals)
9 Types of Major Casualties
9.1 Cargo-related Incidents
9.2 Incident Type – Explosion
9.3 Incident Type – Fire
9.4 Incident Type – Grounding
9.5 Incident Type – Structural Failure
9.6 Incident Type – Ship Stability
9.7 Incident Type – Collision
10 Emergency Preparedness
10.1 The ISM Code
10.2 Responsibility of the DPA in Salvage
10.3 Role of the Drill on Board
10.4 Table Top Exercises – Maritime Operational Readiness
10.5 Challenges from Potential New Incidents
Part C Place of Refuge
11 Overview of Places of Refuge
11.1 Why a Ship May Require a Place of Refuge?
11.2 How is a Place of Refuge Determined?
11.3 Initiating the Request for a Place of Refuge
11.3.1 Within the European Union
11.4 When a Request for a Place of Refuge is Refused
11.5 Place of Refuge Case Studies
11.6 Guidelines for Places of Refuge
11.6.1 IMO guidelines
11.6.2 Regional guidelines
11.7 Successful Places of Refuge
Part D Legal Aspects of Salvage
12 Salvage Contracts
12.1 Definition of a Contract
12.2 Lloyds Open Form (LOF)
12.2.1 Lloyds Open Form 1980
12.2.2 Salvage Convention 1989
12.2.3 Lloyds Open Form 1990
12.2.4 Lloyds Open Form 1995
12.2.5 Lloyds Open Form 2000
12.2.6 Lloyds Open Form 2011
12.2.7 Lloyds Open Form 2020
12.3 Other Open Forms
12.4 Variations on the Standard Contract
12.4.1 BIMCO
12.5 Marine Insurance Underwriters
12.6 State Funded Salvage
13 Maritime Law of Salvage
13.1 What is the Legal Definition of Salvage?
13.2 Who can Claim Salvage?
13.3 The Salvage Convention
13.4 Wrongful Dispossession
13.5 Negligence During the Salvage Services
13.6 Limitation of Liability
13.7 Apportionment between Various Salvors
13.8 The Salvage Award
13.9 Legal References
14 Wreck Removal
14.1 The Wreck Removal Convention
14.2 Who Authorises Wreck Removal?
14.3 Type of Contracts
14.4 Wreck Removal Case Studies
Appendix 1 – Abbreviations and Acronyms
Appendix 2 – Organisations and Associations Involved in Salvage Operations
Appendix 3 – IMO – Guidelines on Places of Refuge for Ships in Need of Assistance
Appendix 4 – IMO – Applicable International Conventions
Appendix 5 – IMO – Guidelines for the Evaluation of Risks Associated with the Provision of Places of Refuge

Witherbys titles are developed using scripts developed by technical experts that are peer reviewed within work groups. Typically, they seek to improve understanding of the regulations, recommendations and guidelines issued by Industry.

Witherbys staff have significant expertise in the fields of navigation and hazardous cargoes as well as in the presentation of complex subjects in a graphic and easy to understand manner.

Number of Pages:
Published Date:
June 2022
Book Height:
210 mm
Book Width:
297 mm
1.5 kg


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Publication Date:
June 2022