Shipwreck Legislation: Legality vs. Morality

Legality versus Morality

by Gary Gentile

...That all property is owned by someone seems a simple statement. Yet there comes a time in the existence of every piece of property when its ownership no longer can be validated. Some things are discarded, some abandoned, some lost, and some stolen....

@ Laws of salvage



  • Serena
    • 1. Serena On 23/05/2010
    Yes, archaeologists should be involved and I mean true archaeologists that are paid to do what they love and won't become so greedy as the government. Why would the government be interested in a sunken Spanish galleon loaded with gold coins ? Not for preserving it in a museum that is for sure.The gov will be interested to make some money, they would do it if they could. Nobody would see it in a museum. By the way I know the location of the Spanish galleon but I have not the resources and means to take it out yet :)
  • Kevin the hardhat
    • 2. Kevin the hardhat On 30/12/2009
    It is my opinion that wrecks whose locations which are currently known and are within the reach of sport divers (150 ft or less)should be protected. Anything found outside of territorial waters though should be considered fair game. The pompous idiotic politicians who make claim to wrecks in interntional waters simply fuel the blackmarket and justify the less than scrupulous salvors. Considering all the ridiculous legal issues in wreck recovery if I knew the location of wreck that wasn't part of a preserve I'd only reveal the location long after I'd cleaned it out. Sorry, the childish lymric "finders keepers loosers weepers" holds real merit here. No doubt there are many, many wrecks that are lost to history due to the forces of mother nature. Wrecks which salvors cleaned out and would have shared the location with historians had there not been so many preposterous regulations. Many readers will not like this point of view, but this is how the real world operates. If the governments and historians want acccess to these sites that it's foolish and shorsited of them to deprive the salvors.
  • Jack Prescott
    • 3. Jack Prescott On 26/09/2008
    From my perspective the salvor who has expended their resources to recover items that have been lost due to any circumstances for longer than 100 years is the rightful owner of the items salvaged.

    If the previous owner either public or private wish to have the items returned they should have first option to purchase on the open market. One concession to the privous owners could be to allow credit for any cost they could substantiate for trying to locate the items themselves deducted from the open bid process minus the salvor's expenses.

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