HomeCircuit Court Admiralty CasesAbandoned Shipwreck Act
Abandoned Shipwreck Act

The following are digests and case links to Circuit Court Admiralty Cases that have as an issue the Abandoned Shipwreck Act:

Sea Hunt, Inc. v. Unidentified Vessels, Kingdom of Spain
Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals
July 21, 2000

Abandoned Shipwreck Act ("ASA"): under admiralty law, where an owner comes forward to assert ownership in a shipwreck, abandonment must be shown by express acts, thus salvor failed to prove that Spain had abandoned its naval vessels for purposes of the Abandoned Shipwreck Act where it failed to show an express abandonment by clear and convincing evidence; International Law: a standard of express abandonment is also required under the 1902 Treaty of Friendship and General Relations between the United States and Spain; the 1763 Definitive Treaty of Peace between France, Great Britain, and Spain, which ended the Seven Years War and transferred most of Spain's territories in the new world to Great Britain, does not contain clear and convincing evidence of the "express abandonment" of the Spanish naval vessels; Salvage: the salvor is not entitled to a salvage award since it is the right of the owner of any vessel to refuse unwanted salvage.

Fairport International v. The Shipwrecked Vessel
Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals
April 17, 2001

Abandoned Shipwreck Act ("ASA"): the district court correctly found that the owner of the Captain Lawrence had abandoned the 1933 wreck and thus title to the wreck had passed to the State of Michigan under under the Abandoned Shipwreck Act, 43 U.S.C §§ 2101-06 ("the ASA"); the facts supporting a finding of abandonment by clear and convincing evidence included: (1) the Captain Lawrence was a relatively recent wreck; (2) the Captain Lawrence sank in 40-60 feet of water; (3) it was technologically feasible to recover the Captain Lawrence in 1933; (4) the owner valued the Captain Lawrence at $200 and wrote it off as a "total loss" on the casualty report he filed; (5) the owner had no insurance on the Captain Lawrence when it sank; (6) the owner declined lifesaving assistance from the Coast Guard; (7) he never attempted to salvage the wreck; and (8) he died intestate. (See also Fairport International v. The Shipwrecked Vessel (1997) and Fairport International v. The Shipwrecked Vessel (1999).)

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