Free wood in England

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From the BBC:
Hundreds of people have been removing timber washed up on to beaches in Kent despite warnings to stay away. Large amounts of wood washed ashore on the coastline around Ramsgate and Margate after the Russian-registered Sinegorsk shed its load, off Sussex.
Police, coastguards and the local authority warned scavengers to stay away for their own safety and to allow the official clean-up to take place.
But a constant stream of people braved pouring rain to remove loads of wood.
One told the BBC he did not know what he would do with the timber but it was "too good an opportunity to miss". Another said he would clad an outbuilding if he could take away enough, otherwise he would build a tree house for his children.
--
I live too far (California), but if you are near this beach, go for
it!!

MJM

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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Anxiously awaiting our resident Bored Borg to comment on yet another example of nanny-statism run amok. Not quite as bad as the outrage at people *gasp* taking their kids out onto the ice on frozen ponds, but close.
--
If you're going to be dumb, you better be tough

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On Sun, 25 Jan 2009 01:34:06 +0000, Mark & Juanita wrote

Well, in this case I'm with the authorities. The timber was not jettisoned or discarded as "no longer required". It was lost in a big wet car-crash. It is still very clearly the properties of the shipping company until all insurance matters have been settled and its removal is equally clearly theft.
<rant supplied for your amusement>
The safety issue is a red herring chucked in by the Gestapo/Politbureau and their propoganda machine. IF the wood had been dumpage or jetsam then I'm sure they would probably still issue daft warnings just because the state here enjoys controlling people as much as possible but I'm positive it's not from a standpoint of public safety (If the authorities cared a jot about public safety they would prosecute drivers for speeding all over the sidewalks outside schools, for example.)
No, the control is for its own sake and also because the wealthy property owner always and automatically seems to warrant state/police protection in direct proportion to the difference in their wealth between anyone else in the equation. Legal judgments often overturn this balance (well, sometimes) but the default position is definitely "protect the rich from everybody else."
</rant supplied for your amusement>
It's a crying shame that all the damn timber which is not looted will probably end up wasted anyway.. rotted and waterlogged, lost out to sea again or otherwise rendered useless so irrespective of the legal position it's heartwarming to see some of it being put to good use. Unfortunately I suspect that much of what is being removed is being removed for resale rather than for direct use - there are reports of lorry loads being taken away. I wonder what will become of _those_?
What is more interesting is that no-one is being stopped from removing anything, just criticized, so the police, as usual, are "doing things" but only on paper. What is needed is for volunteers, or volunteers contracted to be paid later, to get everything up above the high water mark and, ideally, under cover so that losses can be minimized. The local authorities of each flotsam area should be organising this immediately. Ultimately they will have clear beaches in time for the tourist season so why not do it now when it can do some good? Maybe even a good bit of exercise for the military and local conservation groups to help out with the manpower.
Of course this will NOT happen. All the wood will be rendered useless or lost and then insurance premiums - and therefor future shipping costs - will rise. Ultimately the cost will be borne by the end consumer who picks up wood from his local timber merchants and finds the price has rocketed in because it has factored into it the cost of the previous lost shipment.
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Bored Borg wrote:

Pay your VAT and all problems will go away.....
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That _is_ stupidly dangerous in the UK. Our Winters just aren't cold enough to make ice safe to walk on.
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com:

Sounds like outright theft to me.
Just because the ship lost it's load doesn't mean everyone suddenly gets free lumber.
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Larrybud wrote:

Not sure that is true. Maritime salvage rules and right of recovery are a pretty strange set of laws.
BTW, my comment previously was not intended to advocate theft but was aimed at the published "public safety" reason given for people to not pick up that wood.
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It is call Flotsam and probably "pure salvage" by definition. Salvage laws will cover that. The property must be in peril, the services must be rendered voluntarily (no duty to act), and finally the salvage must be successful in whole or in part.
It may even be condoned as cleaning up an environmental hazard. The cargo will be covered by insurance and even if recovered will not be sold to the original customer since it is damaged.
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Larrybud wrote:

It's called "salvage".
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--John
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Larrybud wrote:

I'm curious - how do you envision this situation playing out so that there would be no "theft"?
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Morris Dovey
DeSoto Solar
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According to CNN.com, the law says individuals can take the wood, but must document exactly what they have taken and must not use or alter the wood for one year in case there is a claim by the owner. The video on CNN.com showed people sawing the wood up so it would fit into their small euro cars (guess there are not a lot of pickup trucks like here in TX).
Since the wood is waterlogged, I guess stack and sticker for a year is a pretty good idea.
Montyhp
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By the company who lost it cleaning up their own mess and recover their own property.
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They are probably very grateful for the help.
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Larrybud wrote:

Maritime salvage laws are not necessarily obvious. The removal of such lumber from the beach by the public may or may not be theft. I'd defer to a salvage expert before making a judgment.
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snipped-for-privacy@hadenough.com says...

This seems pretty definitive for the UK...
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/6287047.stm
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Yep. I don't know what the full law says, but seems to me that a reasonable law (yeah, right!) would give the former owner a reasonable amount of time to try to recover their property, unless it poses a health hazard.
If the stuff is currently being washed up, they obviously haven't been given a reasonable amount of time to try to make a recovery.
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Larrybud wrote:

run out of whiskey. Then a ship founders of the island and when the men find out that the cargo is whiskey they board and save as much of the cargo as they can. Then the fun starts: They have to keep it away from the revenuers.
As I said elsewhere "Pay your VAT"
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On Tue, 27 Jan 2009 14:28:18 -0600, "David G. Nagel"

I recognised the plot which was based on a real event, but not the title. Wikipedia came to the rescue.
It's title everywhere but the US is Whisky Galore!- except in France where it's called Whisky a Go Go.
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Larrybud wrote:

Definitely pretty clear cut with no reasonable wiggle-room. Thanks for the link.
... snip
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Veering off tangentially o the original subject; Many years ago I was wreck diving off the New Jersey coast and went inside a small ship that contained thousands of wooden beams and timbers. My goal then was to catch lobsters and look for junk to bring back home. The ship had been down for more than 40 years and was in about 90 to 110 feet. I caught two lobsters in a hold that contained the beams and when I steamed them at home the kitchen smelled of creosote. My guess is that the "bugs" (our affectionate term for lobsters) were survivnig amongst construction timbers preserved with crosote and incorporating some of the chemical(s) in thier tissues. Never did eat those two bugs. Marc
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