flotsam, jetsam, and ligan


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flotsam, jetsam, and ligan

(flŏt`səm, jĕt`səm, lī`gən) [O.Fr.], in maritime law, goods lost at sea as distinguished from goods washed ashore (wreck). Goods that remain floating on the surface after a shipwreck or accident are called flotsam (or floatsam or flotsan), while jetsam refers to goods thrown overboard, or jettisoned (see jettisonjettison
[O.Fr.,=throwing], in maritime law, casting all or part of a ship's cargo overboard to lighten the vessel or to meet some danger, such as fire. Such cargo, when found later, is known as jetsam (see flotsam, jetsam, and ligan).
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), by a vessel in distress. Ligan (or lagan) designates goods that are sunk in the sea and have a buoy or floating object attached to them as a mark of ownership or in order that they may be found again. Such goods found by other persons must be returned to the owner, while flotsam and jetsam must be returned only if the owner makes a proper claim. The rules of salvagesalvage,
in maritime law, the compensation that the owner must pay for having his vessel or cargo saved from peril, such as shipwreck, fire, or capture by an enemy. Salvage is awarded only when the party making the rescue was under no legal obligation to do so.
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 apply to all three types of goods.