Treasure salvage licence hopes are 'wrecked'

By Natario McKenzie - Tribune 242

A senior government official yesterday seemingly ‘wrecked’ salvagers’ hopes for speedy licence approvals, revealing that a moratorium remained in effect and suggesting their motives did not necessarily align with the Bahamas’ national interests.

Dr Keith Tinker, the Antiquities, Monuments and Museum Corporation’s (AMMC) director, told Tribune Business that a moratorium on wreck searches and salvage leases in the Bahamas remains in effect for now, as the necessary protocols to prevent “the rape” of historic sites still need to be put in place.

While a growing list of frustrated wreck salvagers have in recent times questioned why the Government has dragged its feet in acting on their license applications, Dr Tinker said:    “The moratorium is still in effect. As far as we have been advised, it has not been lifted.

I know that the process of consideration by the Bahamas government is ongoing as to if they are going to lift it, and when they are going to lift it. That’s as much information as we are aware of. That’s the sum total of it.”

Dr Tinker’s comments, though, are at odds with the position taken in today’s Tribune Business (see Page 2B) by one of the 18 salvagers with an outstanding licence application before the Government.

Apart from stating that the moratorium had been lifted, the salvager said he had been waiting since April 2012 for his licence approval, which was supposed to come within 90 days.

“The salvage business is a very expensive undertaking, requiring large financial assets, boats, equipment and manpower, and none of these can just sit around for indefinite periods of time,” the salvager wrote.

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