Lloyd's Law Reporter


[2024] UKSC 16, United Kingdom Supreme Court, Lord Lloyd-Jones, Lord Briggs, Lord Hamblen, Lord Leggatt and Lord Richards, 8 May 2024

Salvage – Sovereign immunity – Salvaged silver bars – Customary international law – Meaning of phrase “in use or intended for use for commercial purposes” in relation to cargo – State Immunity Act 1978, sections 10 and 13 – International Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules concerning the Immunity of State-owned Ships 1926 (Brussels Convention)

Argentum was the salvor seeking reward for its salvage services in retrieving 2,364 silver bars from the Indian Ocean. The silver bars had been on board the passenger and cargo liner SS Tilawa when it was sunk by torpedoes in 1942. The claim had been served on the silver bars but their owner at the time of sinking was South Africa (“RSA”) which claimed immunity from the jurisdiction of the High Court.

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