Diving ban imposed on Champagne Wreck
The provincial government of the Åland Islands has imposed a ban on diving in the area where a team of divers earlier this month found what could be the world's oldest drinkable champagne.
The Finnish Coast Guard is patrolling the area to keep prevent any unauthorized dives of the 18th century wreck. The ban in a 30 square kilometre zone is to be in effect until the end of December, according to an online report by the newspaper Ålandstidningen.
The paper added that the provincial government is considering if any other measures are needed.
The wreck, which is at a depth of 55 metres, is in good condition and contained a number of intact bottles.
Christian Ekström, who headed the team that discovered the cache, guessed they might contain champagne. He took one with him to help identify the age of the wreck. The shape of the bottle indicates that it is from the 1780s.
Opening the bottle, Ekström found that it tasted it like champagne. He offered tastes to several wine experts, who were highly impressed.
Not only the champagne may be valuable, the well-preserved wreck itself may be protected.
Under an earlier court decision, wrecks and their contents discovered in the waters of Åland, the semi-autonomous maritime province off Finland's south-west coast, are the property of the provincial government.
This is now the epilogue for the (un) happy very old champagne bottle finders. It is still quite difficult and hazardous to find an untouched shipwreck nowadays, but it is even more difficult to claim its ownership !
"Finders, Keepers" is not the common rule in most of the countries in the world. Those unlucky divers should have probably read first about the rules and regulations in Finland about underwater discoveries. And when it comes to a declared Treasure, complications come with it instantly.
They might have a compensation for their finds ? But that's also not sure...
Remains the deep pleasure (55 meters) to have been the ones who found this extraordinary old wine cargo in such perfect conditions.
Nordic Countries Laws for Underwater Discoveries