What happens when sailors practice maritime law based on watching movies

2 men take US gov’t ocean science buoy, now want to “sell” it back for $13,000
[Via Ars Technica]

Turns out, the government doesn’t take too kindly to the theft of one of its scientific buoys.

According to a lawsuit filed last week by federal prosecutors in California, two commercial fishermen are essentially hostage-takers, as they recovered a loose United States Geological Survey buoy in January 2016 and are now demanding money for its return.

By contrast, the fishermen’s lawyer said on Monday that his clients (one of which is his son) recovered the offshore buoy, which had come loose from its moorings due to a storm. Therefore, because they took possession of the buoy, they became in fact, its rightful owners. The fishermen are not asking for a ransom—now $13,000—but merely a sticker price.


As the article mentions, you do not get ti just keep anything you find in the ocean. And this was obviously not abandoned material.

They do not owned the material they salvaged. To claim so is just wrong.

The court case is going to cost them money. They will not win. Seems self-defeating. They could have submitted a bill for reasonable costs.

Image: timlewisnm