Foreign State Immunity and Marine Wrecks

Australian and New Zealand Maritime Law Journal (The University of Queensland) 2021

20 Pages Posted: 12 Jan 2022

See all articles by Richard Garnett

Richard Garnett

University of Melbourne - Law School

Date Written: 2021

Abstract

An important issue in maritime law is the right of a salvor to retrieve cargo from a sunken foreign state-owned vessel. Specifically, can a foreign state ship or cargo owner rely on the defence of foreign state immunity to resist a claim for a salvage reward? A plea of immunity can arise at various stages of litigation: at the time of establishing initial jurisdiction to adjudicate the claim, at the time of enforcement of any judgment and when a court seeks to apply its laws of salvage to the foreign state (prescriptive jurisdiction). In the case of adjudicatory and enforcement jurisdiction it is well accepted that a foreign state only enjoys immunity when the vessel or cargo was found not to have been used for commercial purposes. In the case of prescriptive jurisdiction there is a strong body of state practice and commentary supporting immunity from national salvage laws on a similar basis but the position is less clear in the case of marine conservation laws.

Suggested Citation

Garnett, Richard, Foreign State Immunity and Marine Wrecks (2021). Australian and New Zealand Maritime Law Journal (The University of Queensland) 2021, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3973287

Richard Garnett (Contact Author)

University of Melbourne - Law School ( email )

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010
Australia

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