Monday, February 27, 2006


British diver fined for stealing shipwreck artifact


By Lamar Bennington
February 24, 2006

Malta - Authorities in Malta have fined a British scuba diver for attempting to steal a shipwreck artifact.

Gavin Lee Howard, 34, was fined $1,400 for stealing a small spherical glass from a submerged ship in Maltese waters.

Following the lead of notorious dive industry-endorsed shipwreck looters Leigh Bishop and Brad Sheard, a small but rapidly increasing number of scuba divers are looting shipwrecks around the world for bragging rights, coffee table displays and internet auction sales that conceal profits from tax authorities.

Despite 'take pictures, leave only bubbles' green-wash, a small but strident group of wreck diving looters steal artifacts from shipwrecks under the guise of 'archaeological exploration', and aggressively compete for bragging rights, product endorsements and profits from the sales of stolen artifacts that are now on a par with those from smuggling humans and drugs.

"Self-aggrandizing looters and grave robbing cowboys such as Leigh Bishop and Brad Sheard are beneath contempt...the vast majority of the global scuba diving community opposes shipwreck looting and underwater grave robbing," said CDS President Evan T. Allard.

"For scuba divers, every shipwreck is an underwater museum to be fully protected for our children, our grandchildren and all future generations of divers who will dive deeper and longer thanks to ongoing improvements in diving technology ," Allard added.

"It is absolutely imperative that the global scuba diving community, archaeologists, coast guards, police and tax authorities act now to prevent shipwreck looters from exploiting and destroying sunken ships for their personal coffee table displays, internet self-promotion schemes and tax-evasion scams."

If you have information pertaining to the theft and/or sale of wreck artifacts, or desecration of underwater grave sites by Leigh Bishop, Brad Sheard, organized crime gangs or anyone else, please contact CDNN immediately and your information will be passed along to appropriate authorities.



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