Wednesday, 25 May 2016

IF A SHIP IS LOST WITHOUT A TRACE, WOULD THIS BE CONSIDERED 'ABANDONMENT' IN THE EYES OF THE LAW?

https://books.google.co.za/books?id=59tOY3mPYXwC&pg=PA263&lpg=PA263&dq=legal+aspects+of+finding+shipwrecks,+south+africa&source=bl&ots=ZL6RENkNcH&sig=O9FKVQ3zcBOYA0Y28HrSqfJF5R0&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiJovujk_XMAhVqCMAKHdMMBCQQ6AEIRDAG#v=onepage&q=legal%20aspects%20of%20finding%20shipwrecks%2C%20south%20africa&f=false

In my opinion if the wreck of Waratah were to be found it would raise the thorny issue of 'abandonment'. As opposed to many vessels lost in locations more or less known to the owners, Waratah was unique in respect of having disappeared without a trace. I doubt very much whether the Lunds officially 'abandoned' Waratah and her cargo, in terms of the law. This has significant bearing on whether descendants of the Lunds or the P&O Line (which bought over the Blue Anchor Line) would have a legitimate claim to contents of Waratah wreck. It might be considered, in the eyes of the Law, that substantially extensive searches made for Waratah and which involved financial input from the Lunds, was an act of 'attempt to recover property' rather than 'abandonment'. Whether the searches were successful or not is moot. At the end of lengthy searches had the Lunds made an official statement to the effect that they were 'abandoning' Waratah, a present day claim should hold water. To further complicate matters the main insurers, Lloyd's, declared mid December, 1909, that Waratah was lost and no longer insurable. This could be considered 'abandonment' further complicated by the fact that the Lunds sold what was left of the Blue Anchor Line to the P&O, 1910. My personal opinion is that any residual valuable cargo potentially salvageable would in part still be the property of the original insurers - salvage costs and 'reward'.  


  

2 comments:

Mole said...

As always, the Waratah leaves us with more questions than answers. But that is her magical hold over us ...

andrew van rensburg said...

The magical hold is as powerful as the Agulhas Current.