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Maritime salvage

Chapter XI
MARITIME SALVAGE

Article 185.- Maritime salvage
1. Maritime salvage is an operation for saving a seagoing vessel or properties on board from danger or an action of rendering assistance to a seagoing vessel in peril at sea or in the seaport waters, which is undertaken under a maritime salvage contract.
2. A maritime salvage contract is a contract concluded between a salvor and the owner of the salvaged property on the salvage. The master of the seagoing vessel in distress may conclude on behalf of the shipowner a salvage contract. The master or shipowner of the seagoing vessel in distress may conclude on behalf of the owner of the cargo carried on board the vessela contract for salvage of such cargo.
3. A maritime salvage contract shall be concluded in the form as agreed upon by the involved parties.
4. The parties to a maritime salvage contract may request the cancellation or modification of the unreasonable conditions in the contract if they were agreed upon in an urgent and dangerous circumstance and under the influence of such circumstance or where the parties can prove that they were deceived or misled to have concluded the contract or where the salvage remuneration agreed upon is too lower or too higher than what is actually deserved.

Article 186.- Obligations of salvors, shipowners and masters
1. In the course of salvage, the salvor shall have the following obligations:
a. To conduct salvage with due diligence;
b. To apply appropriate measures to avert or reduce damage to the environment;
c. To request assistance from other salvors when necessary;
d. To accept salvage acts of other salvors at reasonable requests of the shipowner, the master of the seagoing vessel or the owner of the property in danger. In this case, the salvage remuneration of such salvor shall not be affected if the salvage by other salvors is unreasonable.
2. The shipowner, the master of the seagoing vessel or the owner of the property in danger shall have the following obligation:
a. To cooperate with the salvor throughout the process of salvage;
b. To act with due diligence to avert or reduce damage to the environment when being salved;
c. When the seagoing vessel or other property is taken to a safe place, to deliver such seagoing vessel or property to the salvor if the salvor has a reasonable request therefore.

Article 187.- The right to salvage remuneration
1. All operations of maritime salvage that have brought about useful results shall be entitled to reasonable salvage remuneration
2. The salvage remuneration comprises the salvage remuneration, salvage expenses, expenses incurred in the transportation and preservation of the salved vessel or property, and the remuneration reward.
3. The salvage remuneration is also paid in cases where the salvor has conducted direct or indirect salvage operations to assist the owner of the salvaged property in protecting his/her interests related to freight and passage money due for the carriage of passengers; and where the salved and the salving vessels belong to the same shipowner.
4. Salvage operations contrary to an express and reasonable decision of the master of the salved seagoing vessel shall not be entitled to salvage remuneration.

Article 188.- Principles for determination of salvage remuneration
1. The salvage remuneration shall be agreed upon in the salvage contract but must be reasonable and not exceed the value of the seagoing vessel or property salved.
2. Where the salvage remuneration is not agreed upon in the contract or is unreasonable, it shall be determined on the following basis:
a. The value of the salved seagoing vessel and property;
b. Skills and efforts of the salvor in averting or minimizing the environmental pollution damage;
c. The effect of the salvage by the salvor;
d. The nature and degree of danger of the accident;
e. Skills and efforts of the salvor in salving the seagoing vessel, people and property on board;
f. The time spent, expenses incurred and related losses suffered by the salvor;
g. The risk of liability and other risks faced by the salvor or the equipment employed for the salvage;
h. The timeliness of the salvage operations performed by the salvor;
i. The readiness and capability of the vessel(s) and other equipment employed for the salvage.
j. The readiness, effectiveness and value of the equipment employed for the salvage.
3. The salvage remuneration may be reduced or disallowed if the salvor has by his/her fault caused the necessity of the salvage or has committed theft, deceitful or fraudulent act when performing the salvage contract.

Article 189.- Special remuneration in maritime salvage
1. Where the salvor who has performed salvage operations related to the seagoing vessel or cargo on board threatening to cause damage to the environment is not entitled to the remuneration determined under Clauses 1 and 2, Article 188 of this Code, he/she shall have the right to a special remuneration paid by the shipowner.
2. The special remuneration stated in Clause 1 of this Article to be paid by the shipowner to the salvor shall not exceed 30% of the expenses incurred by the salvor. In cases where a lawsuits is initiated, if deeming it reasonable and on the basis of the provisions of Clause 2, Article 188 of this Code, the court or arbitration may decide to increase the special remuneration, which, however, must not exceed 100% of the expenses incurred by the salvor.
3. Expenses incurred by the salvor stated in Clause 1 and Clause 2 of this Article include reasonable expenses directly incurred by the salvor and other reasonable expenses arising from the actual employment of equipment and employees for the salvage operations. The determination of expenses incurred by the salvor shall comply with the provisions of Points h, i and j, Clause 2, Article 188 of this Code.
4. In all cases, the whole special remuneration provided for in this Article shall be paid only when it is bigger than the salvage remuneration the salvor may enjoy under the provisions of Article 188 of this Code and constitute the difference between the special remuneration and the salvage remuneration.
5. The salvor may not be entitled to part or the whole of such special remuneration if, due to his/her neglect, the environmental pollution damage cannot be averted or minimized.
6. The provisions of this Article shall not effect the shipowner’s right to recourse against the parties that have their seagoing vessels and/or property salved.

Article 190.- Principles for determining the value of seagoing vessels or property salved
The value of salved vessel or property is the actual value of the vessel or property at the place where it is kept after being salved or is the proceeds from the sale, the assessment of the property after deducting the costs of deposit, preservation and organization of the auction and other related expenses.

Article 191.- Life-saving reward in salvage remuneration
1. Persons whose lives have been saved shall not be obliged to pay any money to their rescuers.
2. A rescuer of human life shall be entitled to a fair reward in the remuneration or special remuneration due for the salvage of a property, if his/her life-saving acts have been related to the accident giving rise to the salvage of such property.

Article 192.- Salvage reward in other cases
Those who are performing the duties of maritime pilotage or towage of a seagoing vessel shall be entitled to a salvage reward if they have rendered exceptional assistance beyond the scope of their contract for salvage of such seagoing vessel.

Article 193.- Division of maritime salvage remuneration
1. The salvage remuneration shall be divided equally between the shipowner and the crew of the salving vessel after deducting expenses incurred and damage suffered by the vessel as well as expenses and losses on the part of the shipowner or the crew related to the salvage operations.
This principle shall not be applicable to vessels exclusively employed for professional salvage.
2. Where more than one vessel take part in the salvage, the division of the salvage remuneration shall comply with the provisions of Clause 2, Article 188 of this Code.
3. The Transport Minister shall provide for the division of the salvage remuneration among the crew of Vietnamese seagoing vessels.

Article 194.- The right to detain salved seagoing vessels or property
1. The salved seagoing vessel or property may be detained to secure the payment of the salvage remuneration and other costs related to the valuation and organization of an auction.
2. The salvor shall not permitted to exercise the right to detain the salved seagoing vessel or property if the shipowner or the owner of such property has provided an adequate security for his/her claim for payment of the salvage remuneration, including profits and related expenses.

Article 195.- Statute of limitations for initiation of lawsuits regarding performance of contracts for maritime salvage
The statute of limitations for inititation of lawsuits regarding performance of contracts for maritime salvage is two years as from the date of completion of salvage operations.

Article 196.- Maritime salvage of military vessels, public-duty vessels, fishing vessels, inland waterway crafts and hydroplanes
The provisions of this Section shall apply to military vessels, public-duty vessels, fishing vessels, inland waterway crafts and hydroplanes.