UK Divers Fined for Undeclared Shipwreck Raids

By Eric Haun
Wednesday, July 02, 2014
Artifacts that were taken from the wrecks (MCA photo)

In a landmark case, two divers today have been made to pay a total of £63,500 in fines and costs for not declaring valuable items from shipwrecks off the U.K. coast.

David Knight and Edward Huzzey, both from Sandgate, had previously pleaded guilty to 19 offences between them, contrary to section 236 and section 237 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995. Knight was fined £7,000 and Huzzey £6,500. They were each ordered to pay £25,000 in costs.

Items were taken from shipwrecks off the Kent coast, with the first known objects removed in 2001. The shipwrecks targeted included German submarines from World War I and an unknown 200 year old wreck carrying English East India Company cargo.

The items included eight bronze cannons, three propellers from German submarines, lead and tin ingots, along with various other artifacts. It’s thought the combined value of the items is more than £250,000.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said it is aware from diary entries that Knight and Huzzey used explosives and sophisticated cutting equipment to free wreck material.

It’s believed that six of the cannons had been sold, but in the last fortnight they have been returned to the MCA.

In passing sentence at Southampton Magistrates’ Court, District Judge Calloway, said, “The scale of the operation has to be considered to have been on an industrial scale: the resources employed were valuable and substantial, using good quality lifting equipment and explosives. Huzzey and Knight are friends and clearly operated in close co-operation to actively scavenge for material from the wrecks they explored."

Alison Kentuck, the MCA’s Receiver of Wreck, said, “It is not a case of ‘finders keepers’. Our message is clear: all wreck material found within or brought within U.K. territorial waters must be reported to the Receiver of Wreck.”

Kentuck continued, “Finders of wreck have 28 days to declare their finds to the Receiver. This case demonstrates what could happen to you if you don’t. By reporting wreck material you are giving the rightful owner the opportunity to have their property returned and you may be adding important information to the historic record. Legitimate finders are likely to be entitled to a salvage award, but those who don't declare items are breaking the law and could find themselves, just like with this case, facing hefty fines."

English Heritage provided expert advice in relation to uncontrolled salvage on submerged archaeological remains and on the handling of the seized artifacts. Mark Harrison, English Heritage's National Policing and Crime Adviser, said, "The sentence today sets an important precedent in the fight against uncontrolled salvage by a small criminal minority who have no appreciation for our national maritime heritage. Sophisticated techniques and equipment were used by these men to remove valuable artifacts from the seabed."

Mark Dunkley, English Heritage's Maritime Archaeologist added, "English Heritage takes very seriously all cases of heritage crime which robs us of our shared history. However, we recognize that the majority of divers do act responsibly and comply with the laws and regulations relating to historic wreck sites and salvage."
 

  • A cannon that was taken from one of the wrecks (MCA photo)

    A cannon that was taken from one of the wrecks (MCA photo)

  • Artifacts that were taken from the wrecks (MCA photo)

    Artifacts that were taken from the wrecks (MCA photo)

  • Artifacts that were taken from the wrecks (MCA photo)

    Artifacts that were taken from the wrecks (MCA photo)

  • A cannon that was taken from one of the wrecks (MCA photo)
  • Artifacts that were taken from the wrecks (MCA photo)
  • Artifacts that were taken from the wrecks (MCA photo)

Maritime Today


The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter February 2016 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Legal

Cautious Optimism on Pacific NorthWest LNG Report

Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA)  has ruled that Pacific NorthWest LNG’s project in British Columbia would likely harm harbour porpoises and contribute to climate change,

UPS Oposes CP-NS Merger

UPS, one of North America’s largest intermodal shippers, has told federal regulators that it is against Canadian Pacific Railway's (CP's) proposed acquisition of Norfolk Southern Corp.

SunEdison Restrained from 'Unusual' Asset Transfers

Solar company SunEdison Inc said a U.S. court has restrained the company from making any unusual asset transfers until a hearing in a lawsuit brought on by investors

News

Libyan Navy Seizes Foreign Tanker

Libyan naval forces have seized a Sierra Leone-flagged oil tanker on suspicion of illegally entering Libyan waters in an attempt to smuggle gasoline, authorities said on Saturday.

Berlin film "Fire at Sea" shows Horror of Refugee Crossings

* Movie highlights tragedy of migrant crisis * Filmed mainly on Italian island of Lampedusa * Interleaves lives of islanders with refugees * Film competing for

BRP Wins Industry Award for Rotax Innovation

BRP’s Rotax Intelligent Shift and Throttle (iST) system was recognized by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) with an Innovation Award in the Jet

People in the News

Berlin film "Fire at Sea" shows Horror of Refugee Crossings

* Movie highlights tragedy of migrant crisis * Filmed mainly on Italian island of Lampedusa * Interleaves lives of islanders with refugees * Film competing for

Brazil's CEEE to sell stakes in Wind Farms, Dams

Brazil's Companhia Estadual de Energia Elétrica (CEEE), a power utility controlled by the state of Rio Grande do Sul, will sell assets including stakes in wind farms,

N.E. Fishermen Warned of Extreme Cold, Wind Chills

The Coast Guard is urging the Massachusetts and Rhode Island fishing fleet to take caution heading into the weekend when life threatening temperatures and wind chills are forecasted.

History

This Day In Naval History - February 10

1862 - A flotilla under Cmdr. Stephen C. Rowan aboard USS Delaware engages the gunboats and batteries at Elizabeth City, N.C, capturing CSS Ellis and sinking CSS Seabird.

Brazil Agricultural Waterway Finally Reopens

Brazil's Tiete-Parana waterway, a key transport corridor for soybeans, corn, cellulose, fertilizer and other agricultural products, has reopened after a 20-month

Shipping Industry Clean Up its Act

Shipping impacts the world in many positive ways by enabling trade around the world, But despite all the positive impacts, you also have negative impacts, especially environmental impacts,

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Pipelines Pod Propulsion Port Authority Ship Electronics Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1110 sec (9 req/sec)