My friend has an exotic that he doesn’t want. I absolutely love it but I don’t want him to abandon it it for nothing. So I thought well if he exchanges it for a crashed starship, would I be able to claim it once he exchanges it since it would then be considered abandoned? Just to clarify if he found a crashed ship and exchanged his exotic for it would I be able to swoop in and claim it for myself?
I do not believe so. Abandoned ships are not claimable. They are an artifact left over from the previous owner exchanging it for another ship and are no longer really in the game.
Though you can still seem them, you cannot interact with them, so have no way to claim them.
The behavior may have been different in older releases, but at least in the Beyond update, this is the behavior I have experienced.