THE LAW OF SALVAGE
Not infrequently, ships find themselves in need of assistance at sea due to various incidents that might affect their safe navigation alone. Assistance may be required whether or not a ship is in danger. An engine breakdown, for example, may be serious enough to put a ship in danger so as to call for a salvage tug and, if the other prerequisites of salvage exist, the special admiralty law rules of salvage will apply, which are different from those applicable to rescuers in land. If there is no danger but, nevertheless, a ship needs some assistance to reach its destination, a tug engaged for this purpose will be contracted under special terms of a towage contract (see Chapter 14). When reaching or leaving a port, a ship needs guidance from a harbour master or a pilot to navigate through other ships or obstructions, for berthing or departing. Harbour owners or administrators of public ports are under statutory obligations to keep the ports safe from any obstructions to navigation and provide pilotage and other services, which are regulated by specialised statutes and by-laws (see Chapter 16). These three areas of the law are interlinked.