Flotsam, jetsam, lagan and derelict  

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In maritime law, flotsam, jetsam, lagan and derelict are specific kinds of shipwreck. The words have specific nautical meanings, with legal consequences in the law of admiralty and marine salvage:

  • Flotsam is floating wreckage of a ship or its cargo.
  • Jetsam is part of a ship, its equipment, or its cargo that is purposely cast overboard or jettisoned to lighten the load in time of distress and that sinks or is washed ashore.
  • Lagan (also called ligan) is cargo that is lying on the bottom of the ocean, sometimes marked by a buoy, which can be reclaimed.
  • Derelict is cargo that is also on the bottom of the ocean, but which no one has any hope of reclaiming (in other maritime contexts, derelict may also refer to a drifting abandoned ship).

See also

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