Rights in relation to wreck
3.1 Conceptual development of wreck and interests in wreck
In common terms ‘wreck’ has a very wide meaning, and when pertaining to a vessel usually means one that has been “broken, ruined, or totally disabled by being driven on rocks, cast ashore, or stranded; a wrecked or helpless ship” or which has sunk. 1 It is used both to describe the event and the result. Buckley LJ in The Olympic
2 understood ‘wreck’ to mean broadly “anything happening to the ship which renders her incapable of carrying out the maritime adventure”. 3 The resulting wreck usually extends to the vessel (hull, machinery, fixtures and fittings) as well as its cargo and to all the crew and passenger’s belongings associated with the vessel. 4 This common meaning is also reflected in the Institute of International Law’s 2015 resolution on the wrecks of State vessels, defining a wreck as a “sunken State ship which is no longer operational, or any part thereof, including any sunken object that is or has been on board such ship”. 5
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