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Flotsam and jetsam collected on beaches on Tern Island in French Frigate Shoals, over one month.

Traditionally, flotsam and jetsam are words that describe specific kinds of debris in the ocean. Historically the words had specific nautical meanings, with legal consequences, but in modern usage they came to mean any kind of marine debris.

There is a technical difference between the two: jetsam has been voluntarily cast into the sea (jettisoned) by the crew of a ship, usually in order to lighten it in an emergency; while flotsam describes goods that are floating on the water without having been thrown in deliberately, often after a shipwreck.[1]

Generally speaking, jetsam is the property of the finder, while flotsam remains the property of its original owner.

Traditionally spelled flotsom and jetsom, the "o" was replaced with "a" in the early twentieth century, and the former spellings have since been out of common usage.

Ligan (or lagan), describes goods that have been marked by being tied to a buoy so that its owner can find and retrieve it later. [1]

Derelict is property which has been abandoned and deserted at sea by those who were in charge without any hope of recovering it. This includes vessels and cargo.[1]

The differences among flotsam, jetsam, and ligan are of consequence in the law of admiralty and marine salvage, see., e.g., "Receiver of Wreck".

See also

  • Flotsametrics and the Floating World: How One Man's Obsession with Runaway Sneakers and Rubber Ducks Revolutionized Ocean Science (book)
  • Treasure trove; the legal ramifications of the notion include the distinction between deliberate and accidental loss

References

  1. ^ a b c Merchant Shipping Act 1995


In maritime law, flotsam, jetsam, lagan and derelict describe specific kinds of wreck. Historically the words had specific nautical meanings, with legal consequences.

Contents

Definitions

File:Flotsam on
Flotsam on a beach of Terschelling (The Netherlands)

There is a technical difference between the two most commonly-known terms, Flotsam and Jetsam:

  • Flotsam describes goods that are floating on the water without having been thrown in deliberately, often after a shipwreck, while
  • Jetsam has been voluntarily cast into the sea (jettisoned) by the crew of a ship, usually in order to lighten it in an emergency.
  • Ligan (or lagan), describes goods that have been marked by being tied to a buoy so that its owner can find and retrieve it later.[citation needed]
  • Derelict is property which has been abandoned and deserted at sea by those who were in charge without any hope of recovering it. This includes vessels and cargo.[citation needed]

Legal consequences

The differences among flotsam, jetsam, and ligan are of consequence in the law of admiralty and marine salvage, see., e.g., "Receiver of Wreck".

Generally speaking, jetsam is the property of the finder, while flotsam remains the property of its original owner.[citation needed]

See also

References








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