When responding to a distress signal, is there any obligation to save the vessel in distress as well as the persons on it?

No. A master is obliged to do whatever he can to save the human lives on the ship, which may mean having to take the vessel in tow to get it clear of the shore. However, there is no statutory obligation to save the property itself.

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Does compliance with a statutory duty to assist in a distress incident affect any rights to salvage?

In what circumstances will a master be released from an obligation to comply with a requisition to assist in a distress incident?