Sunday 27 October 2013

Underwater Nighthawking in Question?

Everybody's favourite commercial marine salvage company is reportedly encountering problems with the law:
A US marine salvage company is being investigated by Britain's marine watchdog for allegedly exploring the wreck of a 276-year-old British naval warship without permission. Odyssey Marine Exploration hailed the discovery of the HMS Victory, the predecessor to Nelson's famous flagship, as one of the most important maritime finds ever when they announced its discovery in the English Channel in 2008. [...] the Marine Management Organisation (MMO), the UK's marine watchdog, is investigating allegations that Odyssey explored the wreck without a licence last year. Investigators are understood to be studying footage from a TV documentary filmed on an Odyssey vessel that seems to show the discovery of a human skull in mud on the sea floor. MMO is "currently undertaking an investigation into alleged activity in relation to the site of HMS Victory". It is understood that one of the issues being considered is whether this activity required a licence. Under maritime law, all naval vessels lost at sea are considered to have "sovereign immunity" and cannot be disturbed without governmental approval.
Cahal Milmo, 'In too deep: Warship wreck 'bounty hunter' under scrutiny from Britain's marine watchdog', Independent Sunday 27 October 2013

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