Do shipwrecks need protecting? The answer seems to be a resounding No, judging by the lack of enthusiasm globally for a decade-old treaty aimed at doing just that.
From Blackbeard’s pirate ship to WWII war graves there are thought to be 3 million shipwrecks dotted across the seabed. And we’re not doing a very god job of looking after them.
The Unesco Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage still hasn’t been signed by the big players, including the UK, the US, China, Russia and France. And the question the BBC look at in detail on their website is why?
Underwater archaeology certainly has had a bad rep in the past – even Jacques Cousteau and his buddies got up to some pretty unmentionable things with ancient wrecks. In one of his books he describes using suction pumps to hoover up stuff from centuries old wrecks and sifting through for any bits that weren’t broken by the time they reached the deck.
Tim Curtis told the BBC:
“The looting of the tombs of Tutankhamen is now considered unacceptable so why is the looting of shipwrecks considered acceptable?”
Read more at the BBC here