Salvage claim in Louisiana against an abandoned sailboat - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 29 Old 08-24-2015 Thread Starter
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Salvage claim in Louisiana against an abandoned sailboat

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TOPS barge service seeks salvage award for sailboat rescue in Gulf

TOPS barge service seeks salvage award for sailboat rescue in Gulf | Louisiana Record

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post #2 of 29 Old 08-24-2015
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Re: Salvage claim in Louisiana against an abandoned sailboat

Assuming the numbers stack up, their case sounds reasonable to me. By the time costs tally up, I'm sure the owner will be regretting ever having purchased the boat in the first place.

Should serve as a warning to all that you're responsible for your stuff, no matter where you leave it..

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post #3 of 29 Old 08-24-2015
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Re: Salvage claim in Louisiana against an abandoned sailboat

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Originally Posted by Classic30 View Post
Assuming the numbers stack up, their case sounds reasonable to me. By the time costs tally up, I'm sure the owner will be regretting ever having purchased the boat in the first place.

Should serve as a warning to all that you're responsible for your stuff, no matter where you leave it..
These types of claims are limited to the value of the boat. Presumptively the insurance company already paid the owner for the boat, so he is not likely out of pocket much if anything.

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post #4 of 29 Old 08-24-2015
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Re: Salvage claim in Louisiana against an abandoned sailboat

Maritime law, so same in Louisiana as in federal waters anywhere in the US.

Sounds more like an abandoned boat than a "rescued" one. If owner does not want it, that may give you an idea of what it's worth.

Seeking salvage, though, makes some sense. It may be the only way to acquire ownership rights so as to sell it off to defray expenses of this nuisance boat drifting around your wellhead or whatever offshore structure/job. You seek a salvage award, judge weighs the "Blackwall factors" of skill, peril, expense, value, success and several others. The award may or may not exceed the boat's value, and in a routine case of towing a boat in during nice weather, the award may not be much more than a towage fee.

Or the Court can be requested to have a judicial sale, they bid in their claim at auction, get the boat, sell/scrap it for lead and parts. Doesn't sound like a money-maker to me, but this is doing it "by the book" if you intend to sell it. Easier to get title this way than convincing a buyer, or even a court, that it's abandoned.

Informal way would be to just dispose of it as abandoned, if you're confident it really is abandoned, and not worth selling.


All this assumes there was no hull insurance.

Last edited by nolatom; 08-24-2015 at 03:16 PM.
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Re: Salvage claim in Louisiana against an abandoned sailboat

people leave all sorts of crap in the ocean, not that it is right. sounds like they took it upon them selves to remove it from the ocean and now they want someone to pay their bill. if they would have left it out there they would not have wasted there manpower and resources that they want to be paid for. they should have stepped over it not in it.

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Re: Salvage claim in Louisiana against an abandoned sailboat

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Originally Posted by nolatom View Post
Informal way would be to just dispose of it as abandoned, if you're confident it really is abandoned, and not worth selling.
Have you seen or found any report regarding the original incident, how it was abandoned? Did it involve a CG rescue of the crew, for instance?

From the original article, it sounds like it might have been what has become all too commonplace these days - just another case of a sailboat being abandoned due to "mechanical failure"...

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Re: Salvage claim in Louisiana against an abandoned sailboat

I am always suspicious of news stories as we never seem to get the whole story. So the company seeking salvage rights--called the boat owner and was told that it had been abandoned because of mechanical failure--WAS that as far as it went---did the owner have any intention of recovering said boat??? Seems like it may have been in the way of the company dismantling its equipment.
OK so maybe they have a right to claim it for salvage---BUT then to expect their lawyers fees etc. Does not seem quite right!!! One or the other!! Not salvage rights plus all costs!!
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Re: Salvage claim in Louisiana against an abandoned sailboat

One can sue for virtually anything now a days. That does not mean you will get it. I would hope the owner has insurance to cover such loss. Abandoning the vessel without an attempt to recover it would tend to indicate that the owner had written it off.
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post #9 of 29 Old 08-24-2015
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Re: Salvage claim in Louisiana against an abandoned sailboat

sounds like it should of been sunk when they left it afloat.

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post #10 of 29 Old 08-24-2015
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Re: Salvage claim in Louisiana against an abandoned sailboat

This is a very complex area of Admiralty Law.
An owner can be held responsible for many times the value of a vessel if the situation is so judged by the Admiralty Court.
One case that comes to mind is when a small freighter sent out a distress call because she lost power and drifting towards a reef. A supertanker diverted and stood by the smaller ship until a tug arrived.
The owners of the supertanker billed the freighter's owners for the ship's time, cost of the diversion and the actual expenses of the operation, which was in the millions. The freighter and the company that owned her had no way to pay, closed their doors and forfeited the ship. Everybody lost except the crew who were quite happy there was a ship standing by.
If you are in any situation where your vessel requires a tow or you wish to tow another boat, make sure you know the appropriate laws. It makes a huge difference legally and liability wise, whether you accept a tow line or give one, from either the towed or towing boat's viewpoint. Professionals like Sea Tow or Boat US are not going to accept YOUR line, for instance.

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Last edited by capta; 08-24-2015 at 07:06 PM.
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