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

Legal

UAE Top Court: Physical Bunkers Suppliers Have No Right to Recourse against Owners/Charterers

The OW saga - UAE Federal Supreme Court decides that physical suppliers of bunkers have no right to recourse against Owners/Charterers. In the first decision

Antwerp Port Extends Partnership with DMU of China

The port of Antwerp is to collaborate with Dalian Maritime University (DMU) in northern China for the next three academic years. DMU is a prestigious Chinese maritime

Will Maersk Line acquire HMM

There are rumours among observers that the  market leader Maersk Line is planning to acquire South Korea’s shipping major Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM).   Neither

News

Red River Closed after Barge Grounding

The Red River was closed Sunday from mile marker 40 to mile marker 42, after a barge reportedly ran aground and was protruding into the channel near mile marker 41, according to the U.

Norwegian Unions Say 755 O&G Workers Could Strike

About 755 Norwegian workers on seven oil and gas fields could go on strike from Saturday, hitting output from western Europe's top producer, if a new wage deal is not agreed before a Friday deadline,

Tanker Crewman Medevaced off Virginia

The U.S. Coast Guard medevaced an ailing crew member Saturday from a tanker off Virginia Beach.   Coast Guard watchstanders at the 5th District Command Center

People in the News

Panama Opens Canal Extension Amid Risk, Cost Issues

Panama opened the long-delayed $5.4 billion expansion of its shipping canal amid cheering crowds on Sunday, despite looming economic uncertainty in the shipping

Austal Delivers Seventh EPF7 to US Navy

Austal Limited (Austal) informed that the U.S. Navy has accepted delivery of USNS Carson City (EPF 7) from Austal USA, during a ceremony held aboard the ship at Austal USA’s shipyard in Mobile,

Antwerp Port Extends Partnership with DMU of China

The port of Antwerp is to collaborate with Dalian Maritime University (DMU) in northern China for the next three academic years. DMU is a prestigious Chinese maritime

History

This Day In Naval History: June 27

1861 - While commanding a gunboat flotilla, Cmdr. James Harmon Ward is mortally wounded by a musket ball while aiming the bow gun of his flagship, USS Thomas Freeborn at Mathias Point, Va.

Day of Seafarer: ICS Highlights Seafarers Role in Migrant Rescues

Gerardo Borromeo, Vice Chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) took the opportunity today to highlight the courage that is currently being displayed by seafarers,

Essar's Terminal at Kandla Port crosses 100 mi tonne throughput

The marine terminal of Vadinar Oil Terminal Ltd (VOTL), which is part of Essar Ports Ltd, has been the best performing terminal in the Kandla Port Trust (KPT) for two consecutive years.

 
 
Maritime Security Maritime Standards Navigation Offshore Oil Pod Propulsion Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Repair Sonar Winch
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: 0.1164 sec (9 req/sec)