Conventions on Salvage

By the year 1978, there had been a substantial number of casualties involving large tankers carrying crude oil. Those casualties occurred in many different parts of the world. They raised many legal problems. But more immediately and, perhaps, more importantly, they raised suddenly and without warning many novel practical problems for professional salvors, who were called upon to use their ingenuity to solve those problems. Salvage masters spend their working lives encountering new problems because no two maritime disasters are identical. Salvage masters would not be successful without the knack or aptitude for adaptation. But it was not ingenuity alone that was required when very large tankers were in distress. Resources on a large scale were needed, and they were needed immediately. Tugs, fire-fighting equipment, chemicals for dispersing oil and equipment for containing it, all the paraphernalia of modern salvors, and, above all, financial resources were needed on a very large scale. Such problems affected, or were likely to affect, professional salvors in all parts of the world.