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The Tubantia [1924] P 78, [1924] All ER 615

Facts:

Concerns a salvage dispute between two groups of salvors (one of which was led by Sippe).

SS Tubantia was an ocean liner that sank in 1916, along with a large amount of gold coins. In 1924, the wreck was located and recovery was initiated. Sippe had marked the wreck with bouys, obtained limited access, and sent in divers – but the divers could only stay down there briefly, and had not yet retrieved anything of real value.

Issue(s):

What is required for a salvor to have sufficient possession of a sunken shipwreck?

Ratio:

Possession requires that a person have sufficient control over the object. Control does not necessarily mean "complete dominion." Rather, control is subject to the particular context and type of property:
** Physically demarcating the area under which a wreck is found, accessing the wreck and sending in an exploration team constitutes sufficient possession in the case of a sunken shipwreck

Analysis:

The court found sufficient possession – Sippe had sufficient control and use of the wreck to support his intention to exclude.

Holding:

Decision in favour of Sippe


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