This week we have again seen the great benefit provided to shipping and the world economy by professional salvors – members of the International Salvage Union – who are in most cases the only agency with the experience, equipment and people to undertake the kind of job successfully completed by ISU members, Smit Salvage and Nippon Salvage, working together with the Suez Canal Authority.

The case of the Ever Given was particularly visible but the 50 members of the ISU have an excellent track record of dealing successfully with incidents involving all classes of vessel in locations around the world in all kinds of conditions. Statistics recently published by ISU show that in 2020 its members provided nearly 200 salvage services.

Keeping world trade moving is a key part of the salvor’s role, ensuring that all kinds of goods are kept safe and delivered to their destination intact and as soon as possible.

By providing their services, the salvors preserve the value of the goods and prevent or reduce potentially huge losses for the ship and cargo owners’ insurers and re-insurers. In the recent Suez Canal case, the operation had far wider benefit by unblocking this vital trade artery for hundreds of other cargo vessels.

Environmental protection may not have been a critical consideration in the Suez Canal but in many cases it is central to the salvage operation and in 2020 ISU members services involved vessels carrying 2.5 million tonnes of potential pollutants.

The current case clearly demonstrates the value provided to world shipping and society in general by the professional marine salvors and how important it is that a viable marine salvage industry and resources are sustained and kept available worldwide.