The long strange trip
Salvage law in the Imperium
Under normal circumstances to file a salvage claim, you have to take the ship to a Class C or better starport. The original owners have 10 years to file a claim of ownership. If the owner of the ship and / or contents doesn’t show up in the first year then the salvage claimant gets custodial care of them. After 5 years they can be sold with the government getting 50% in taxes and fees, 1/4 going to the salvage claim holder and one quarter being held in trust for the owner. Then if the owner is found, then they are required to pay 25% of the value to the salvage claim holder.
Items owned by the government are always owned by the government, and the government may pay a finder’s fee of 1-6% of the value.