Originally Posted by StuM
As I understand it, the buoy was designed to float to the surface after a period of time recording data at depth
and then transmit a homing signal for recovery.
So it was not flotsam, jetsam or abandoned. The fisherman interfered with government
property which was doing its job. They shouldn't have a leg to stand on.
It clearly wasn't abandoned, but I am not sure that the fact that it was intentionally left floating changes the equasion much. A piece of valuable equipment
was left floating, not under command, in the ocean, that is definitional flotsam.
It is an interesting question of law however.
The bigger issue is that these guys are getting some terrible advice from their lawyer. At most they could demand a salvage bond for the value of the instrument but then would have to return it. Legal
reporting is notoriously terrible because reporters have no idea what they are talking about, and minor differences make a huge difference in what's going on.
So I went and got interested and read the actual complaint and filing. According to the government filing the bouy broke loose from its mooring
during a storm and floated free. So in summation a piece of marine equipment
broke loose during a storm and was found floating mid-ocean by someone else.
I am willing to bet a dollar that this is flotsam. But given the filing from the government, and the responce from the defendants attorney it wouldn't suprize me if this never gets brought up.