Salvage and SCOPIC
If you are faced with a salvage situation you will want a firm that has not only handled many casualties and worked with the main salvors but also understands the perspective of underwriters and P & I Clubs.
You may just require a short advice on quantum, or you may have a container ship on fire or a grounded cruise ship. Put simply, whatever the challenge, we have probably seen it before.
Our team is uniquely placed with individuals who were instrumental in drafting some of the key industry contracts. In Simon Tatham we have one of the leading solicitors and commentators in the field whilst John Reeder QC was the former Lloyds Appeal Arbitrator (presiding over 500 arbitrations) and is the editor of Brice on the Maritime Law of Salvage. Other very experienced salvage law practitioners, including mariners, make up an exceptionally strong team.
Lloyds Open Form The LOF “no cure no pay” contract is the industry’s preferred salvage contract. It is backed by insurers and with one hundred years of use is renowned for its simplicity and flexibility. The administration of LOF cases can be straightforward, but some are both big and complex. Legal and practical issues arise daily and there is no substitute for hands on experience, which we have.
The firm is also organised to handle large cases, being able to mobilise a large team and has the experience of doing so, including container and cruise ships, whether acting for salvors or respondents.
Fewer LOFs however are signed than in the past and there is a trend towards bespoke commercial contracts in less urgent casualties – these need careful consideration on a case by case basis and you will want advice from people who understand the risks.
Common law salvage claims Not all salvage is done on LOF terms. We regularly advise on:
- common law salvage claims (alleged services but with no contract signed); and
- private submission to arbitration in London ie under the relevant Admiralty Solicitors Group agreed wording.
SCOPIC P & I interests routinely require separate representation when SCOPIC is invoked, and it gives rise to both practical and legal issues. Mostly SCOPIC cases run smoothly. You will however be comforted to know that one of our team was involved in original drafting of SCOPIC and that we have handled SCOPIC cases since the clause was first introduced, whether for P & I, hull, salvors or their subcontractors.
Transitional agreements When the response needed shifts from salvage to wreck removal careful there is frequently a need for bunker removal or caretaking services – see Wreck removal.