abandonment be presumed.
Without proof of presumption of abandonment, no one can acquire rights of ownership by occupatio. Abandonment is a question of fact and will depend on the circumstances of each case. The erstwhile owner of the property must manifest an intention not to resume ownership.
Two wrecks are worthy of mention. In the case of the Birkenhead, a consignment of gold coins was lost. The vessel was wrecked on February 26 1852 while transporting troops to Algoa Bay, at Danger Point near Gansbaai, 140km from Cape Town. The dispute over the ownership of the wreck was settled between the British and South African governments in 1989, with the gold recovered being shared.
The Dodington was wrecked on July 17 1755 on a reef off Bird Island near Port Elizabeth. The vessel was carrying a consignment of gold and silver, of which about 1,200 gold coins escaped the looters and was recovered. A third of the coins was returned