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Stop the looting

Looting and forbidden diving on shipwrecks with a high cultural heritage value have become an increasing problem in recent years. The National Maritime and Transport History Museums recently invited key partners to discuss how we can even better monitor and protect our underwater cultural heritage.

Forces were mobilised when the county administrative boards, Swedish National Heritage Board, Coast Guard, national police operations, Maritime Police, Swedish Navy, National Maritime and Transport History Museums, and Vrak – Museum of Wrecks* gathered one day to discuss the roles and responsibilities needed to prevent damage and looting to wrecks and other underwater artefacts.

With relatively minor adjustments, there is great potential to improve the national system for monitoring and protecting wreck sites that are particularly sensitive and culturally valuable.

During the gathering, the group discussed the importance of knowledge dissemination, education and an increased presence at sea to raise awareness of what is, for many, an unknown cultural heritage. All participants agreed that the cooperation will provide long-term, sustainable protection and the preservation of underwater cultural-heritage artefacts.

*Vrak – Museum of Wrecks is part of the Swedish National Maritime and Transport History Museums.