Salvors need ‘rewards’

THE Ministry of Transport believes Fiji needs to ratify the International Convention on Salvage to ensure maximum financial benefit is given to salvors who prevent and minimise damage to the environment.

In his submission to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence, Transport Ministry deputy secretary Lui Naisara explained it was an expensive operation to salvage derelict vessels in Fiji and the convention had provision for an enhanced salvage award.

The initial Salvage Convention, adopted in Brussels in 1910, incorporated the “no cure, no pay” principle under which a salvor is only rewarded for a succesful operation.

However, this did not take pollution into account.

“A salvor that prevented a major pollution incident, for example by towing damaged tankers away from an environmentally sensitive area but did not manage to save the ship or its cargo, are not rewarded accordingly,” Mr Naisara said.

“Therefore, there is little incentive for salvos to undertake salvaging operations, which has little chance of success and no reward to the salvor.”

The amended 1989 Convention remedied this deficiency by introducing the enhanced salvage award.

He said the award would take into account the skill and the efforts of the salvors in preventing and minimising damage to the marine environment.

“We hardly get experienced salvors here in Fiji.

“Most of our salvaging operations, if it cannot be done locally, we will have to seek services offshore, and the deployment of resources from an offshore operation to Fiji just to come and do a salvaging operation is a very expensive exercise and that is one of the reasons that we have pushed this motion to Parliament and for Fiji to ratify it.”

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