Decree No. 39/1998/ND-CP of June 10, 1998, on dealing with property sunk in the sea

THE GOVERNMENT
——-

SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF VIET NAM
Independence – Freedom – Happiness
———-

No. 39/1998/ND-CP

Hanoi, June 10, 1998

 

DECREE

ON DEALING WITH PROPERTY SUNK IN THE SEA

THE GOVERNMENT

Pursuant to the Law on Organization of the Government of September 30, 1992;
Pursuant to the Vietnam Maritime Code of June 30, 1990;
Pursuant to the Civil Code of October 28, 1995;
At the proposal of the Minister of Communications and Transport,

DECREES:

Chapter I

GENERAL PROVISIONS

Article 1.- This Decree stipulates in detail the dealing with of property sunk in the sea.

2. The dealing with property sunk in the sea shall comply with the provisions of this Decree, other provisions of Vietnamese laws and international agreements which have been signed or acceded to by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. In cases where an international agreement which has been signed or acceded to by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam otherwise provides for, such international agreement shall apply.

Article 2.- The property sunk in the sea mentioned in this Decree include sea-going vessels of all kinds, goods or other objects, regardless of their origin, value, characteristics, ownership form and the time of sinking within the internal waters, the territorial waters, the contiguous areas of the territorial waters, of whether they are found floating on the open sea or drifting onto the Vietnamese shore.

Article 3.-

1. Owners of sunken property are obliged to salvage their sunken property. In cases where they do not salvage or fail to salvage their sunken property within the prescribed time limit the competent State agencies defined in Article 4 of this Decree shall decide the salvage of such property.

2. Owners of sunken property shall bear all costs in relation to the salvage of their sunken property. In cases where the sunken property are sea-going vessels owned by Vietnamese people mentioned in Clause 1, Article 177 of the Vietnam Maritime Code, the property owners shall be liable for paying only the costs arising in the salvage within the limit of the actual value of the salvaged property. The remainder shall be covered with the maritime assurance fees.

3. The managers and users of sunken property shall have to be jointly responsible to the competent State agencies for the salvage of their sunken property and pay all costs in relation to such salvage.

4. In cases where the sunken property cause environmental pollution, their owners shall have to pay compensation for the damage caused by such environmental pollution in accordance with the provisions of law.

Article 4.-

1. The Minister of Communications and Transport shall assume the prime responsibility and coordinate with the People’s Committees of the provinces and cities directly under the Central Government (hereafter collectively referred to as the provincial-level People’s Committees) and the concerned ministries and branches in dealing with the property being sunken sea-going vessels or other property which endanger or obstruct maritime navigation, port operations and marine natural resource exploitation, threaten human life and health or pollute the environment.

2. The provincial-level People’s Committees shall assume the prime responsibility and coordinate with the Ministry of Communications and Transport and the concerned ministries, branches and localities in dealing with other sunken property not mentioned in Clause 1 of this Article.

3. The salvaged property related to national security or valuable to the preservation of the national culture or history must be notified to the concerned ministries before they are dealt with.

Article 5.- All organizations and individuals having sunken property or involved in the discovery, salvage, maintenance or dealing with property sunken in the sea shall have to exercise their rights and fulfill their obligations in accordance with the provisions of this Decree and relevant provisions of Vietnamese laws. If they record meritorious achievements merits they shall be commended and if they commit violations, they shall be handled according to the provisions of law.

Chapter II

IDENTIFICATION OF OWNERS OF PROPERTY SUNK IN THE SEA

Article 6.-

1. Depending on the kinds of sunken property mentioned in Clauses 1 and 2, Article 4 of this Decree, the owners, managers or operators of the property, the discoverers or the people who salvage by chance sunken property, shall have to notify the nearest maritime port authority or the nearest commune, ward or township People’s Committees (hereafter collectively referred to as the commune-level People’s Committees).

Upon receiving the notice, the directors of the maritime port authorities or the presidents of the commune-level People’s Committees shall have to apply necessary measures to protect and manage such sunken property and report it to the Vietnam National Maritime Department or the People’s Committees of the rural or urban districts, provincial capitals or towns (hereafter collectively referred to as the district-level People’s Committees) so that the latter report it to the Ministry of Communications and Transport or the concerned provincial-level People’s Committees.

2. For property sunk in military areas, their owners, managers operators or discoverers or the people who salvage by chance property sunk in military areas shall also make a notification as provided for in Clause 1 of this Article. The agencies that receive such notification shall have to not only discharge their tasks but also notify the nearest military agency.

Article 7.-

1. Within seven days from the date of receipt of the reports the Vietnam National Maritime Department or the provincial-level People’s Committees shall have to identify the owners of the discovered sunken property.

a/ In cases where there are papers (documents) showing the names and addresses of the owners of the sunken property, the Vietnam National Maritime Department or the provincial-level People’s Committees shall have to notify the property owners according to such addresses.

b/ In cases where the owners of the property sunk in the sea have not yet been identified, the Vietnam National Maritime Department or the provincial-level People’s Committees shall make such notices for three consecutive times on the central or local newspapers.

2. Within 60 (sixty) days from the date of the last notice, the owners of the sunken property or their lawful representatives under the Vietnamese laws shall have to contact the notifying agency(ies) so as to fill the procedures for receiving back their property.

Past the above-mentioned time limit, the property shall be dealt with in accordance with Article 17, Article 18 and Article 19 of this Decree.

Article 8.- A notice to look for the owner(s) of the sunken property must include the following principal contents:

1. Description of the characteristics and specifica-tions of the sunken property;

2. The time, place and circumstances where the sunken property is discovered or salvaged;

3. The dead line and address of the place where the owner(s) or his/her/their authorized represen-tatives shall have to appear and fill the procedures for receiving back the property;

4. The address of the notifying agency for the property owner(s) to contact for timely settlement.

Article 9.- The costs for the identification of the owner(s) of the sunken property shall be accounted into the costs in relation to the salvage of the sunken property.

Chapter III

SALVAGE OF PROPERTY SUNK IN THE SEA

Article 10.- Responsibilities of the director of the Vietnam National Maritime Department for the salvage of property sunk in the sea:

1. Submitting to the Minister of Communications and Transport for approval the proposed deadline for the completion of the salvage of the property sunk in the sea according to Clause 2, Article 175 of the Vietnam Maritime Code.

2. Drawing up options on the salvage of the property sunk in the sea and submit them to the Minister of Communications and Transport for decision according to Clause 3, Article 175 and Clause 1 and Clause 2, Article 177 of the Vietnam Maritime Code.

3. Organizing the salvage of the property sunk in the sea mentioned in Clause 1, Article 4 of this Decree under the authorization of the Minister of Communications and Transport.

Article 11.- The presidents of the provincial-level People’s Committees shall decide the deadline for and organize the salvage of the sunken property not mentioned in Clause 1, Article 4 of this Decree.

Article 12.-

1. The Minister of Defense or the heads of the military agencies, who are authorized by the Minister of Defense shall grant permits to salvage property sunk in military areas or salvage military equipment.

2. In cases where military equipment is sunken outside military areas, endangering or obstructing maritime navigation, sea port operation or marine resource exploitation, threatening human life and health, or causing pollution to the marine environment, the granting of salvaging permits and the organization of the salvage of the sunken property prescribed in Clause 1 of this Article shall be effected within the time limit set by the Minister of Communications and Transport.

Article 13.- In cases where Vietnamese organi-zations or individuals are unable to salvage their property sunk in the sea, the Minister of Communica-tions and Transport shall decide to allow such organizations or individuals to cooperate with foreign partners to conduct the salvage in accordance with current provisions of law.

Chapter IV

PRESERVING AND DEALING WITH PROPERTY SUNK IN THE SEA

Article 14.- Organizations or individuals that salvage by chance sunken property shall have to preserve such property till the time they are handed over to the competent agencies defined in Article 6 of this Decree. The delivery and receipt of property must be recorded in writing in accordance with Article 15 of this Decree.

The maritime port authorities or the commune-level People’s Committees shall have to designate competent people or agencies to receive and preserve such property.

Article 15.-

1. The document on the delivery and receipt of property sunk in the sea must include the following principal contents:

a/ The name and address of the organization or individual that hands over the sunken property;

b/ The name and address of the organization or individual that receives the sunken property;

c/ The time, location and circumstances in relation to the discovery or salvage of the sunken property;

d/ Description of the characteristics, specifications and necessary information about the sunken property.

2. The sunken property delivery and receipt document must be signed by the competent representatives of both delivering and receiving parties. The maritime port authorities or the commune-level People’s Committees shall have to send such document to the Vietnam National Maritime Department or the concerned district-level People’s Committees.

3. The sunken property delivery and receipt document must be made in three copies, two of them shall be kept by the delivering and the receiving parties, and one copy shall be sent to the Vietnam National Maritime or the concerned district-level People’s Committee.

Article 16.- In cases where the sunken property is military equipment, immediately after the completion of the delivery and receipt procedures, the maritime port authorities or the commune-level People’s Committees shall have to deliver such property to the local military agency for preservation and settlement according to the provisions of law.

Article 17.-

1. For property being imported or exported goods which are floating on the sea or drifting ashore, the maritime port authorities or the commune-level People’s Committees shall, after receiving such property, have to notify the nearest customs agency thereof for coordination in dealing with such property according to the provisions of the customs legislation.

2. For sunken property discovered or salvaged which are antiques, historical or cultural relics, the Vietnam National Maritime Department or the district-level People’s Committees shall have to report to the Ministry of Communications and Transport or the provincial-People’s Committees and the Ministry of Culture and Information for coordination in dealing with them according to the provisions of law.

3. For sunken property being sea-going ships or property which are neither antiques nor historical and cultural relics but are of great value, the Minister of Communications and Transport or the provincial-level People’s Committees shall coordinate with the concerned agencies in dealing with such property according to current laws and report the results thereof to the Prime Minister.

Article 18.-

1. Where the property owners fail to pay the related costs according to the prescribed deadline already notified to them, the director of the Vietnam National Maritime Department or the provincial-level People’s Committees shall be entitled to decide to auction the property according to the provisions of law. After paying all the expenses for salvaging, preserving and organizing the auction of the property as well as other related reasonable expenses, the remaining amount of money (if any) shall be deposited into a temporary deposit account at a Vietnamese bank and the property owners shall be notified thereof. After 180 (one hundred eighty) days from the notification date, if the property owners do not receive, such remaining amount of money and interest thereon shall be remitted into the State budget.

3. If the money earned from the property auction is not enough to cover all the expenses mentioned in Clause 1 of this Article, the property owners shall be obliged to pay the deficit. The Vietnam National Maritime Department or the provincial-level People’s Committees shall notify the property owners thereof and proceed with the legal procedures if the property owners fail to fulfill their payment obligation.

3. In cases where it is impossible to identify the owner(s) of sunken property as stipulated in Clause 1, Article 4 of this Decree and the proceeds from the auction of the salvaged property is not enough to cover the expenses mentioned in Clause 1 of this Article, the collected maritime assurance fees can be used to make up for such deficit.

Article 19.- In cases where the owners of the sunken property do not receive back their property or are unidentifiable as stipulated in Article 7 and Article 8 of this Decree, such property shall come under the ownership of the Vietnamese State.

Chapter V

IMPLEMENTATION PROVISIONS

Article 20.- This Decree takes effect 15 days after its promulgation. The previous stipulations which are contrary to this Decree are hereby annulled.

Article 21.-The ministers, the heads of the ministerial-level agencies, the heads of the agencies attached to the Government, the presidents of the provinces and cities directly under the Central Government and the Director of the Vietnam National Maritime Department shall have to implement this Decree.

 

 

THE GOVERNMENT

Phan Van Khai

 

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