Press Notice No: 20/09
Friday, January 23, 2009
Posted 14:47 GMT
RECEIVER OF WRECK ANNUAL REPORT RELEASED
The Receiver of Wreck today publishes her Annual Report which reveals that in excess of 1,500 items were reported during 2008. Items reported range from water melons to gold nuggets as well as tonnes of timber.
A total of 299 reports of wreck (droit) were received in 2008, which is a very small increase on the previous years figures. In 2007, 290 droits were received, not including the MSC NAPOLI reports (since they relate to one incident and give an artificially inflated impression of overall wreck recoveries).
Although the 299 reports received in 2008 does represent a very slight increase on the previous years figures, incoming droit figures have, in general terms, declined since a peak between 2000 and 2002.
There is no limit to the quantity of recovered wreck material that can be reported on each droit, as long as all of the material reported has come from the same site. Although a total of 299 droit forms were received during 2008, this actually refers to in excess of 1,500 individual items, ranging in size from fragments of pottery to a 3 metre long bronze cannon.
This figure of approximately 1,500 recovered items does not include the various quantities of Ice Prince timber that were recovered by members of the public in January of 2008. The number of recoveries of timber reported on Ice Prince droits ranged from one finder who had recovered one 7ft length of timber to another who had recovered 7 tons of timber.
The Receiver Of Wreck, Alison Kentuck said,
2008 has been a very busy year for the Receiver Of Wreck with large scale incidents like the timber cargo from the Ice Prince vessel in January in addition to many other interesting smaller scale recoveries. The wide range of items reported to the Receiver illustrates the huge variety of goods transported by sea both today and throughout history.
Notes to Editors
1. The Receiver of Wreck is appointed by the Secretary of State for Transport and is an official of the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (an Executive Agency of the Department for Transport). The main functions of the Receiver of Wreck are to administer those parts of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 that deal with wreck and salvage.
2. The Act states that all recovered wreck material, regardless of age, size or value, must be reported to the Receiver of Wreck. This includes all wreck recovered from within UK territorial waters and any wreck material brought within UK territorial waters.
3. The responsibilities of the Receiver of Wreck include dealing with incoming reports of recovered wreck material, researching legal ownership of wreck, ensuring that legal owners are given the opportunity of having their property returned, facilitating agreement to and payment of fair salvage awards, and administering the Crowns (or grantees) right to unclaimed wreck. In addition to these main statutory duties, the Receiver of Wreck also administers the Royal Prerogative for Fishes Royal and section 2 of the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973 (dangerous wrecks).
4. As the UKs maritime authority, the MCA also recognises the importance of our maritime heritage and, through the Receiver of Wreck, actively engages with maritime heritage organisations (both government and NGO).
5. The Merchant Shipping Act 1995 gives wreck owners one year in which to come forward and prove their ownership of recovered wreck material. This statutory time period means that many droits must stay open for at least one year, although the Receiver of Wreck does have a discretionary power to close cases within this period in certain circumstances. This one year period begins from the date on which the report was received rather than one year from the date on which the salvage service was rendered.
6. The Receiver of Wreck is based at the MCA Headquarters in Southampton and is represented at a local level by officers of HM Coastguard.
7. Copies of the Annual report are available electronically from the MCAs media office on the number below
Posted By: Fiona Warren
For further details contact:
The Maritime & Coastguard Agency Press Office
023 8032 9401