What British shipping law states
IN TERMS of Britain’s Merchant Shipping Act of 1995, anything taken from a wreck or found on the shore must be reported to the Receiver of Wreck.
“Wreck” includes any part of a vessel, aircraft or hovercraft including any of its cargo or equipment which is either “flotsam” (goods lost from a ship that has sunk or otherwise perished and which are recoverable because they have floated), “jetsam” (goods cast overboard or jettisoned), “derelict” (property abandoned and deserted at sea without any hope of recovering it) or “lagan” (also “ligan”, being goods cast overboard from a ship, buoyed so that they can be recovered later).
In an interview with Scilly Today newspaper a few years ago, Receiver of Wreck Alison Kentuck said material she’d handled ranged from “glass jars of cherries from the 1800s and hundreds of tons of pine planks to underwear and shoes”.
The report said as the receiver of wreck, Kentuck, was also “keeper of the fishes royal”, an ancient term related to the crown’s ownership of whales, dolphins and sturgeon that are washed ashore, a task she described as “particularly difficult and smelly”.