Namibian Foreign Minister Marco Hausiku will visit Portugal in the near future to discuss bilateral relations, including the future of the spoils of a 16th century Portuguese vessel recently found along the southern African country’s coast, a senior Portuguese official said late last week.
State Secretary for Culture Paula Fernandes dos Santos told the Lusa News Agency the archaeological work on the 500-year-old ‘nau’ ended on Friday in Namibia and that Lisbon must determine how to continue cooperation with Windhoek’s (the capital city) authorities.
Fernandes noted that Namibia was not yet a signatory of the UN Convention on Protection of Submarine Cultural Heritage, meaning all of the vessel’s spoils belong to Windhoek.
“This means that, along with Namibia’s authorities, we’ll have to launch a bilateral process to find under what conditions we can continue to collaborate with them”, she said.
The archaeological team, including Portuguese experts, has recovered gold and silver objects, copper and ivory, navigational instruments, cannons and cannon balls from the 16th century vessel, whose wreck was discovered last April during coastal diamond mining operations.