Who is a salvor

The term salvor is used when referring to a person who carries out a form of marine salvage. Marine salvage can be any form of vessel, cargo or vessel equipment rescue. The term ‘salvor’ can be used for any form of marine salvage whether it is contract, pure or naval salvage.

Characteristics of a Salvor

The salvor can be one person or an entire crew of salvors that are dedicated to performing marine salvages. In order to become familiar with your rights and obligations as a marine salvor you are advised to seek advice from a professional consultancy firm who are experienced in all aspects of maritime law. Jurisdictions will impose different marine salvage requirements to satisfy and so it is imperative you are aware of your rights.

The definition of a salvor can be described as the person or persons directly responsible for the salvage of a vessel and/or vessel cargo from danger or difficulty at sea. There are different categories of salvors that concentrate one particular types of salvage, including;

  • Contract salvage
  • Pure salvage
  • Naval salvage

Typically, salvors are skilled in the area of engineering and have the expertise to carry out complicated rescues involving machinery such as cranes and other equipment. This is necessary as marine salvages can be dangerous and risk both the salvor’s vessel and the salvor’s life. A salvor will also generally have diving experience and be a competent swimmer.

The following types of tools are most prominently used by salvors when conducting a marine salvage;

  • Floatation airbag
  • Underwater cutting tools
  • Diving equipment including helmet
  • Hydraulic winch
  • Hydraulic salvage pump
  • Air compressor
  • Crane
  • Tub boat

Under maritime law, a salvor is required to file a claim to the relevant court with jurisdiction once he/she has salvaged a vessel and its cargo. The salvage award will be based upon merit of the service; however, the value of the salvage award will vary according to the type of salvage and value of the vessel/cargo. Usually, a salvor can expect a relatively generous reward for rescues of high value goods where he or she has risked their life, vessel, or equipment in order to perform the salvage.