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Titanic preservation : USA, Canada, France and the UK sign agreement
Posted by webmaster on 2004/6/16 18:07:00 (3891 reads)

The United States signed an international agreement on June 18 that will lead to increased protection of the RMS Titanic wreck site by regulating salvage operations and other dives to the Titanic shipwreck.

Canada, France and the UK also sign the June 18 agreement

Under the agreement, which was negotiated with Canada, France, and the United Kingdom beginning in 1997, the Titanic is designated as an international maritime memorial, recognizing the people who perished and whose remains should be given appropriate respect.

The Department of State must forward the signed agreement and recommended implementing legislation to Congress for ratification. The agreement will enter into force when two or more nations have ratified or accepted it.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Office of the Spokesman June 18, 2004

U.S. SIGNS AGREEMENT TO PROTECT RMS TITANIC WRECK SITE

Today the United States signed an international agreement that will lead to increased protection of the RMS Titanic wreck site. The four nations most closely associated with the Titanic -- Canada, France, the United Kingdom and the U.S. -- negotiated the agreement, beginning in 1997. Concerted action by these countries would effectively foreclose financing for and the technical ability to conduct unregulated salvage and other potentially harmful activities.

Though it rests 12,000 feet deep, the Titanic continues to capture the attention of people around the globe. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) recently sponsored a scientific expedition to the wreck that included explorer Robert D. Ballard, the man who discovered it in 1985. He attributed newfound damage to the wreck to submarines landing on the deck for salvage operations, filming, and tourism.

Under the agreement, the Titanic is designated as an international maritime memorial, recognizing the men, women and children who perished and whose remains should be given appropriate respect. Parties will also protect the scientific, cultural and historical significance of the wreck site by regulating, within their jurisdiction, dives to the Titanic shipwreck, including the hull, cargo and other artifacts at the wreck site. The U.K. signed the agreement in November 2003 and, at the same time, enacted implementing legislation. The Agreement enters into force when two or more nations have ratified or accepted it; once in force, it applies to each subsequent country upon ratification, acceptance, or accession. Once implementing legislation is signed into U.S. law, the U.S. can deposit its acceptance and the Agreement will become effective for the U.S. As directed by the Titanic Maritime Memorial Act, signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, the Department of State will forward the signed agreement and recommended implementing legislation to Congress. The agreement does not apply to the existing collection of 6,000 Titanic artifacts that have been salvaged pursuant to admiralty court orders, but it is consistent with those orders and current scientific principles of historic and cultural resource conservation.

For further information, please contact Megan Sowards, Department of State, (202) 647-1169 or Fred Gorell, NOAA, (301) 713-9444 ext. 181, cell phone: (301) 332-8174.

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