Dimitris Athanasoulis

Looters heading for Greece

From Blueflipper

With the opening of dive sites of once forbidden areas to divers, Greece is becoming a haven for looters.

When it was first proposed, it seemed like a good idea: open up the Greek seas to divers and create a paradise for tourists underwater.

Those who backed the law never thought of it as a windfall for looters, nor did it occur to them that it might put the acquisition policies of museums under further scrutiny.

But the Greek parliament's unprecedented step last month to allow divers access to the once forbidden coastline has raised fears that archaeological riches preserved in an untouched world will be taken by ruthless thieves.

"There are treasures in our seas," says Dimitris Athanasoulis, president of the Archaeologists' Association. "This will open the floodgates to smugglers.

It'll serve to encourage them at a time when evidence shows the trafficking of antiquities is on the rise."