Ships Acquired at Sea

There are well understood laws regarding the acquisition of ships at sea. They vary depending on the circumstances under which the ship is obtained and whether the ships were privately owned or publically owned by a government.

Private Ownership:

Ships Abandoned/Ships Wrecked: A ship abandoned at sea is considered salvage and salvage laws apply. The person who obtains the ship has full rights to the ship and cargo, but owes the original owners 10% of the value of the ship and cargo. If the ship was abandoned more than 7 years previously, then nothing is owed to the original owners.

Ships rescued: A ship that requires aid and is rescued by another party is still considered to be property of the original owner. However, the original owner customarily pays a fee for saving the ship. The fee varies between 10%-30% of the value of the ship and it’s cargo. This includes ships that are foundering and needs assistance, ships that are attacked at sea and require assistance, and ships captured by pirates/others and liberated. If the ship was captured more than 3 years previously, then the original owners maintain no ownership interest.

Government Ownership:

Ships Abandoned/Ships Wrecked: A government ship abandoned at sea is considered to still be the property of the government, regardless of the length of time it has been abandoned. The government generally will provide some sort of reward for the return of their vessel.

Ships rescued: A government ship that requires aid and is rescued by another party is still considered to be property of the original owner. The government generally will provide some sort of reward for the return of their vessel.

Pirating Ships:

If a party fails to abide by the laws of the sea, they are considered to have pirated the ship. They are then cast as outlaws and hunted by government and privateer alike. Pirates have three options for the ships they acquire.

  1. They can add the ship to their fleet or use the captured ship and sell their current ship.
  2. They can sell the ship to other pirates or dishonest traders who are willing to buy stolen ships at a great discount. If they sell to other pirates, this is usually done at Buccaneer Bay, an island city/port that is known only to other pirates.
  3. Finally, the pirate can ransom the ship back to the original owner. This is the most common practice and usually includes a ransom of the crew and passengers as well.

Ships Acquired at Sea

Skulls & Bones Molay05