Home >> Bouvier's Law Dictionary >> Wreck to Year And Day >> Wreck

Wreck

fed, sea, vessel, cast, sunken and am

WRECK (called in law Latin wreccum marls, and in law French scree de mer). Such goods as after a shipwreck are cast upon the land by the sea, and left there with in some country so as not to belong to the jurisdiction of the admiralty, but to the common law. Co. 2d Inst. 167; 1 Bla. Corn. 290. A ship becomes a wreck when, in conse quence of injuries received, she is rendered absolutely unnavigable, or unable to pursue her voyage, without repairs exceeding the half of her value ; Wood v. Ins. Co., 6 Mass. 479, 4 Am. Dec. 163. A sunken vessel is not a wreck, but derelict; wreck applies to prop erty .cast upon land by the sea ; Baker v. Hoag, 7 N. Y. 555, 59 Am. Dec. 431; to jet sam, flotsam and ligan ; Murphy v. Dun ham, 38 Fed. 503.

Wrecks and shipwrecked goods under a state act are confined, in their ordinary legal meaning, to ships and goods cast on shore by the sea, and do not include a boat or other property not cast ashore or thrown overboard or lost from a vessel in distress ; Proctor v. Adams, 113 Mass. 376, 18 Am. Rep. 500.

Goal lying in a sunken ship in Lake Michi gan is not a wreck of the sea; Murphy v. Dunham, 38 Fed. 503; the United States has no title to it; id.

See SUNKEN WRECK.

• Goods found at low water, between high and low water mark, and goods between the same limits partly resting on the ground, but still moved by the water, are wreck; 3 Hagg. Adm. 257, 294.

Wreck, by the common law, belongs to the king or his grantee ; but if claimed by the true owner within a year and a day the goods, or their proceeds, must be restored to him, by virtue of stat. Westm. I., 3 Edw. I. c. 4. Ships and goods found derelict or abandoned at sea belonged until lately to the office of the lord high admiral, by a grant from the crown, but now belong to the na tional exchequer, subject, however, to be claimed by the true owner within a year and a day; 1 Hagg. 383.

But in America the king's right in the sea-shore was transferred to the colonies, and therefore wreck cast on the sea-shore belongs to the owner of the shore, as against a mere stranger, if not reclaimed ; Barker v. Bates,

13 Pick. (Mass.) 255, 23 Am. Dec. 678. See Proctor v. Adams, 113 Mass. 377, 18 Am. Reip. 500.

In this country, the several states border ing on the sea have enacted laws providing for the safekeeping and disposition of prop erty wrecked on the coast. In one case, it was held that the United States succeeded to the prerogative of the British crown, and are entitled to derelict ships or goods found at sea and unclaimed by the true owner ; but in the southern district of Florida it is held that such derelicts, in the absence of any act of congress on the subject, belong tci the find er or salvor, subject to the claim of the true owner for a year and a day. Marv. Wreck.

Wrecked goods, upon a sale or other act of voluntary importation, become liable to du ties; The Concord, 9 Cra. (U. S,) 387, 3 L. Ed. 768.

A wrecked vessel, in common phraseology, includes a sunken vessel; see Gilchrist v. Godman, 79 Fed. 970.

The act of congress, March 3,- 1899, pro vides that, whenever a vessel is wrecked and sunk in a navigable channel, it shall be the duty of the owner immediately to mark it by a buoy or beacon by day and a lighted lantern by night. Failure to do so within six hours (one hour only being required) ren dered the owner of a canal boat liable in damages to a passing vessel colliding with the wreck; The Anna M. Fahy, 153 Fed. 866, 83 C. C. A. 48; so when not marked for two days;, The Macy, 170 Fed. 930, 96 C. C. A. 146.

Marking a sunken yacht (18 feet) with pieces of wood, two partly submerged buckets and a pocket handkerchief on a pole, was in sufficient; The Fred. Schlesinger, 71 Fed. 747.

The act also requires the owner to com mence the removal of the wreck at once ; failing which (or upon its earlier abandon ment) it may be removed by the secretary of war. The owner is required to maintain the mark during all this Period ; Second Pool Coal Co. v. Coal Co., 188 Fed. 892, 110 C. C. A. 526.

See SALVAGE; TOTAL Loss.