Marine Insurance: Law and Practice
Meanings of abandonment
In general, to abandon is to give up or renounce. However, the word abandonment is used in different senses in marine insurance.1 First, it may simply refer to the act of physically quitting a vessel, usually when a casualty is in danger, imperilling the safety of those on board. However, the mere fact that the master and crew have left the subject matter does not mean that an assured forgoes his rights over it. Secondly, and more specifically, where the condition of the casualty is extreme, the master and crew may abandon it animo dereliquendi sine animo revertendi et sine spe recuperandi— intending to leave it as derelict, without intending to return, and without hope of recovery. This may occur whether or not the subject matter is the subject of an insurance contract. Where there is a pertinent insurance contract, such a casualty may well be a constructive total loss and even become an actual total loss, but will not necessarily be so.