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

Legal

Maritime NZ Oil Spill Response Review: Submissions

Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) says it invites submissions on its draft updated New Zealand Marine Oil Spill Response Strategy 2014 (the draft Strategy). The draft Strategy, (available at http://bit.

Thai Resort Owners Sue State Owned Company for Oil Spill

Business owners on Koh Samet island are suing a state-owned petroleum enterprise for the oil spill that polluted the resort island's beaches last year. More than 50,

Nigerian Piracy Threatens UK Interests: New Report

The UK economy is heavily exposed to lawlessness off the coast of Nigeria, a new report published today by the UK Chamber of Shipping says. The report found that almost all of the UK’s annual £6.

News

2545 Candidates Vie for 11 Positions in Maersk Drilling

2545, that is exactly how many applicants applied for the 11 MITAS engineer positions available in Maersk Drilling in 2014. The Maersk International Technology and Science Programme,

Jacksonville Dedicates New PORTS® Real-time Data System

Officials from NOAA, the Jacksonville Marine Transportation Exchange, and the Jacksonville Port Authority officially dedicated a new information system today

Saab Completes Acquisition of TKMS (Kockums)

Defence and security company Saab's acquisition of the Swedish shipyard Thyssen Krupp Marine Systems (TKMS, formerly Kockums) has now been completed. The acquisition

People in the News

U.S. Naval Academy: New Superintendent

The U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) has held a change of command ceremony in Annapolis, Maryland, where Vice Adm. Walter E. "Ted" Carter Jr. relieved Vice Adm. Michael Miller,

Alaska Welcomes USCG Admiral Papp Arctic Assignment

Alaska Senate Majority informs that it welcomes news that Admiral Robert J. Papp Jr., the 24th Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard since May 25, 2010, has been appointed by the U.

Bouchard Hire Brian Hall as Southern Port Captain

Tugboat and barge owners Bouchard Transportation says that retired active duty U.S. Coast Guard Commanding Officer Brian Hall has joined the company as Southern Port Captain / Vetting Manager.

History

Panama Canal to Celebrate 100 Years

To commemorate its centennial, the Panama Canal will host a series of events August 14-15 in Panama City to highlight the impact of the waterway during the past century.

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,

Today in U.S. Naval History: July 23

Today in U.S. Naval History - July 23 1947 - First Navy all jet squadron (VF-17A) receives its first aircraft (FH). 1948 - USS Putnum (DD-757) evacuates U.

Subsea Salvage

Sunken WW II Ship Oil Leak Plugged

Atlantic Coast Marine Group, Inc. successfully responds to World War II era motor tanker leaking massive cargo of oil into the Atlantic Ocean's waters. Beaufort,

Treasure Hauled from SS Central America Shipwreck

Odyssey Recovers Over 13,500 Silver and Gold Coins as Well as Gold Ingots, Dust, Nuggets and Jewelry From SS Central America Shipwreck; Newly Released Inventory

Costa Concordia Refloated

The wreck of the luxury liner Costa Concordia was refloated on Monday and will soon be towed away and broken up for scrap, more than two years after it capsized off the Italian coast,

 
 
Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Naval Architecture Offshore Oil Pipelines Port Authority Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar
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: 0.1143 sec (9 req/sec)