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 Reporter October 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Legal

Oil Deal Between Iraqi Kurdistan & Baghdad Welcomed

The United States welcomes an agreement between Iraq's central government in Baghdad and its northern Kurdistan region over the management of oil exports, U.

Canadian Pipeline Expansion Continues

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners said on Friday that crews have resumed survey work related to its Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project in the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby,

Orlando Ashford is President, Holland America Line

Holland America Line announced today that effective Dec. 1 Orlando Ashford will join the company as president to lead the award-winning cruise line's brand and business,

News

7 Rescued from Sinking Freighter Near Haiti

Seven crewmembers were rescued after their 100-foot coastal freighter began taking on water and sank approximately 45 miles north off of Cap Haitien, Haiti, Friday.

Gazprom Transgaz Ufa Organizes Arts Festival

Over 200 healthy children and children with disabilities from Bashkortostan as well as the Volga Region participated in the Breaking the Barriers second interregional children’s arts festival,

Time-out for Kwanza Drilling

Statoil has decided to cancel the Stena Carron rig contract after fulfilling the work commitments in the Statoil-operated blocks 38 and 39 in the Kwanza basin offshore Angola.

People in the News

7 Rescued from Sinking Freighter Near Haiti

Seven crewmembers were rescued after their 100-foot coastal freighter began taking on water and sank approximately 45 miles north off of Cap Haitien, Haiti, Friday.

Gazprom Transgaz Ufa Organizes Arts Festival

Over 200 healthy children and children with disabilities from Bashkortostan as well as the Volga Region participated in the Breaking the Barriers second interregional children’s arts festival,

President Pryor Retires from ExxonMobil Chemicals

Stephen D. Pryor, president, ExxonMobil Chemical Company and vice president of Exxon Mobil Corporation, has elected to retire on January 1, 2015, after more than 44 years of service.

History

President Pryor Retires from ExxonMobil Chemicals

Stephen D. Pryor, president, ExxonMobil Chemical Company and vice president of Exxon Mobil Corporation, has elected to retire on January 1, 2015, after more than 44 years of service.

Maritime Reporter @ 75: The Daily Cartoon

Maritime Reporter & Engineering News was founded by John J. O'Malley (1905-1980) in 1939, and today ranks as the world's largest audited trade publication in the world serving the maritime industry,

MacGregor's Hatlapa Brand is 95 Today

November 2014 marks the 95th anniversary of MacGregor's Hatlapa brand. Since its foundation in 1919 by German engineer Max Hatlapa, the formerly independent Uetersen-based

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Offshore Oil Pipelines Port Authority Salvage Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | 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: 0.2560 sec (4 req/sec)