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Salving an uninsured vessel & no cooperation from owners - award's gotta be generous!

Kuzma Minin grounded in Falmouth Bay, UK in Dec 2018 after dragging her anchor in bad wx. It was uninsured. There was lack of cooperation from owners in appointing salvors, and the coastguard used local resources to refloat her. The salvors were proposing that the award be quantified as £550k.

Vessel had already been sold by the Admiralty Marshal for £1m. A Russian bank was the mortgagee and challenged several assertions made by the salvors, such as (a) salved value was over valued by a margin of 1/3rd, (b) risk of pollution was exaggerated, (c) as was extent to which she was in danger (as she was an ice class vsl), (d) inclemency of wx conditions, & (e) absence of specialized salvage eq (the tugs were harbor tugs). For many of these points, bank relied on the MAIB report. Salvors obviously contended that MAIB report is inadmissible.

The court, applying its discretion deemed it sensible to admit it, as they were not dealing with apportionment of fault or blame in this case. The next issue was vsl's valuation. Salvors referred to an electronic doc from ‘vessels value’ showing it as > £2.5m on the date when salvage services terminated which was 3 mths before she was sold by Adm. Marshal. The court assessed the salved value to be £1.5m & salvage award as £450k.

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