Salvage and the underwater cultural heritage
The Buenos Aires draft Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage proposes in article 4 the exclusion of salvage law from the underwater cultural heritage. This echoes certain statutory provisions in the USA. However it is inconsistent with UNCLOS and the International Salvage Convention 1989. Archaeological information once destroyed is destroyed for ever. With the expansion of the technical means available to recover sunken artifacts, the need to preserve the underwater cultural heritage is urgent. But how is this best achieved? Application of principles applied in the American courts demanding the highest scientific standards in the salvage of historic wrecks and remains may point the way forward and obviate undesirable legislative delay.
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