Today, protection of the marine environment is the dominant consideration in every salvage operation. The introduction of the International Convention on Salvage 1989, the increased cost of salvage and wreck removal, the increased involvement of national authorities and environmental pressure groups have ensured that the focus has moved away from saving of property as the salvor’s main concern.
Nowadays, the salvor has the specialised equipment and expertise to minimise environmental consequences arising from a casualty. This has involved considerable investment in equipment and training.
Despite a reduction in Lloyd’s Open Form contracts and other emergency response services, ISU salvors have maintained continuity of service. They stand ready to respond around the clock, on a global basis, to respond to the salvage challenge. In part, this has been made possible through a policy of closer cooperation with shipowners and their insurers (mainly the hull and machinery underwriters and the P&I Clubs responsible for third party liabilities).
The rapid development of megaships, including container ships, LNG carriers, ore carriers and passenger ships probably present the greatest challenge to salvors for the future. The sheer size of these vessels will make salvage difficult but not impossible. Salvors are great innovators and have a reputation for success.