Thursday, March 06, 2008

 

Laws to shore up shipwreck protection

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Evening News
March 06, 2008


SHIPWRECKS in the Forth are set to be protected from scavengers by new Scottish Government legislation.

Ministers want to better record and safeguard wreck sites off the Scottish coast, by allowing more marine sites to be designated of “national importance”.

Currently, 15 wrecks are protected under two different laws – the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973 and ancient monument legislation. The new proposals would bring all shipwrecks under the Scottish Marine Bill.

Two wrecks in the Forth are currently safeguarded – the Blessing of Burntisland, which sank in 1633 carrying King Charles 1’s baggage train worth £160,000 at the time, and the HMS Campania, a Cunard liner and converted aircraft carrier which was sunk in 1918.

But Philip Robertson, Historic Scotland’s senior inspector of marine archaeology, admitted: “The existing laws are widely considered ineffective below the low water mark.

“The proposals for new legislation would give us a more effective and workable tool with which to safeguard wrecks and other marine sites, which are considered to be of national importance.”



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