Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by Peter Clare, Nov 21, 2006.
Any comments on this report?
Whatever the legal niceties, it is clearly a "war grave" Didn't something like half of the British deaths from the 1940 campaign result from the Lancastria ? Regrettably, the French are probably not to be relied on if reports of their plans for WW1 cemeteries are to be believed.
As the report states and I have always understood, that the French governments have always deemed it to be a protected area.
I would have thought that from this that there should be no cause for concern.
Regrettably, the French are probably not to be relied on if reports of their plans for WW1 cemeteries are to be believed.
Rich - what are you referring to here?
The problem is that there are three main laws which apply to shipwrecks: The Merchant Shipping Act 1995, the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973, and the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986.
MERCHANT SHIPPING ACT 1995All wreck material which comes from UK territorial waters, and any wreck which is landed in the UK from outside UK territorial waters must by law (Section 236 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995) be declared to the Receiver of Wreck.
Wreck is defined as anything which is found in or on the sea, or washed ashore from tidal water. All items which are raised, regardless of age or importance, must be reported to the Receiver of Wreck.
Finders who report their finds to the Receiver of Wreck have salvage rights. The Receiver of Wreck acts to settle questions of ownership and salvage.
This part of the 1995 Merchant Shipping Act is administered by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency through the Receiver of Wreck.
PROTECTION OF WRECKS ACT 1973
The Protection of Wrecks Act (section 1) is designed to protect wrecks which are of historic, archaeological or artistic importance. Diving is prohibited on wrecks protected under this legislation, and there is an exclusion zone around the designated site.
Section 1 of this Act is administered by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport.
Under section 2 of the Protection of Wrecks Act, vessels are designated as being dangerous by virtue of their contents. There is a strict no entry policy. This is in the interest of safety of both divers and members of the public.
Section 2 of this Act is administered by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency through the Receiver of Wreck.
PROTECTION OF MILITARY REMAINS ACT 1986
The Protection of Military Remains Act deals with military remains of both aircraft and ships. All military aircraft are automatically designated under this legislation.
Vessels may be designated under this Act either as a Protected Place or as a Controlled Site. Divers may visit a Protected Place on a "look but don't touch" basis. Divers are prohibited from visiting Controlled Sites.
This Act is administered by the Ministry of Defence (RAF for aircraft, Navy for vessels).
However, none of these apply outside UK waters (of course). For international and bi-partisan agreements the UN Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage would apply.
So the request for MoD intervention seems to be more a demand for official recognition rather than actaul legal protection. Even if the case goes to court, it can't be won as the courts cannot force the MoD to take responsibility for land (or territorial waters) that fall in a sovereign foreign land. It would be like the MoD taking full responsibility for war cemetaries in France. The only land that ever exists within a foreign country that can be called independent is an embassy or consulate.
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