With the advent of salvage technology, pod pilots have been granted the capability to remove useable or repairable components from ships damaged and destroyed in combat. These vital subsystems have given rise to an entirely new economy, namely the construction and sale of ship rigs. Used to improve various ship features, and capable of giving pilots a significant edge in combat, rigs often sell for millions of ISK. This relatively young economy is a profitable area for competent salvagers and reselling traders alike. Countless pod pilots have become professional salvagers, either as a part time job or in some cases, as an almost full-time occupation that can bring in a solid income.
Then there are the “scavengers of the scavengers,” those who search out and salvage the wrecks of ships other pilots have destroyed. These people typically use the superior scanning systems of Covert Ops vessels as they move from system to system and scan down the lucrative remains of recent battlefields. The majority of these wrecks come from capsuleers engaged in work for the various corporations that offer it. Most commonly, it is during the time they have returned to their agent when the “wreck thieves” capitalize, leaving only empty space for their victims to return to in their specially-fitted salvage vessels.
A vocal section of the capsuleer community has repeatedly petitioned CONCORD to have these “pirate salvagers” dealt with. Their most frequent argument is that under current legislation wrecks are not legally recognized as their property, the result of which is that “wreck thieves” are free to salvage what they like with impunity. Opinion on the matter is as diverse as the capsuleers class itself, with some considering everything “fair game” and others decrying it as an outrageous oversight on CONCORD’s behalf.
When Marauder-class Battleships recently hit the SCC markets, many companies advertised them in part as “the solution to wreck thievery”. They pointed to the vessel’s capability to salvage and fight at the same time by using both optimized tractor subsystems and hardpoint layouts. This has certainly helped some pilots, who now have little need to make return trips to battlefields to salvage wrecks. Despite the entry of these ships however, there are indications that rogue salvagers are still in heavy operation across the cluster, with some even claiming these ships have “only made the job easier.”
With no official stance from CONCORD on the issue beyond complete silence, it is clear that for the time being at least, salvaging will be both a profession and unique form of what many see as piracy.