SALVAGE (from Lat. salrare, to save) is the payment due by the owner of a ship or .argo to persons who may have been instrumental in saving it from extraordinary danger —from the sea, fire, or an enemy. The propriety of this allowance, as an incentive to the saving of life and property, has always been admitted; and though the correctness of the principle which allows salvage to royal ships for saving vessels of their own nation may be questioned on the ground that their duty is to protect such ships tinder all circum stances, yet it admittedly expedient to offer a fair pecuniary reward as an additional incentive to what may often be au irksome duty.
Salvage was recognized in the earliest maritime codes—as in the laws of Rhodes, Oleron, and Wishy. The law of England divides it into two classes. civil and hostile salvage. Civil salvage is saving a vessel or her cargo, or part thereof. from the perils of the deep; hostile salvage recovers it from an enemy or pirate after capture. No propor tion is laid down in civil salvage, as generally applicable. Each case must be decided oa its own merits, the ingredients for decision being, 1st the degree of danger incurred by the salvors; 2d, the degree of peril in which the property rescued stood; 3d, the degree of skill, labor, and time evinced in the salvage; 4th, the value and nature of the property.
Except where the assistance rendered has been trifling, the salvage usually ranges from a third to a half of the property saved. A contract to render assistance negatives any claim to salvage on account of such assistance. A passenger can only claim salvage when, having bad the opportunity, while the danger existed, of quitting the ship, he voluntarily remains to render help. A royal ship is bound to aid a merchantman in distress; but it can will claim salvage.
When the parties cannot agree as to the amount of salvage, the admiralty court has jurisdiction over all cases which occurred at sea, or between high and low water mark. The rules for trying salvage cases are fixed by the statute 16 and 17 Vint. c. 131 (1853).
Hostile salvage is fixed by 43 Geo. III. c. 160 (1803) at one-eight the value of tho property saved for royal ships, and one-sixth for private vessels. Ships and merchan dise taken from pirates pay one-eight as salvage, 6 Geo. IV. c. 19 (1826).
In the case of saving a vessel belonging to an allied or neutral power, reference is made in awarding salvage to the laws of such power, and to the degree of reciprocity it grants to British vessels.