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The Law of the SeaProgress and Prospects$
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David Freestone, Richard Barnes, and David Ong

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199299614

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199299614.001.0001

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The Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage: Article 303 and the UNESCO Convention

The Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage: Article 303 and the UNESCO Convention

Chapter:
(p.120) 7 The Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage: Article 303 and the UNESCO Convention
Source:
The Law of the Sea
Author(s):

Tullio Scovazzi

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199299614.003.0007

On November 6, 2001, the Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage (CPUCH) was signed in Paris, France, with the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation; or, UNESCO. When entered into force, it will apply to ‘all traces of human existence having a cultural, historical, or archaeological character, which have been partially or totally under water, periodically or continuously, for at least 100 years’. To explain the merit of the CPUCH, a basic consideration must be made. Any attempts to deal with the cultural heritage at sea inevitably have to face an unexpected obstacle; that is Article 303 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (LOSC). This provision is not only incomplete but also counterproductive, and can be interpreted in a way which undermines the very objective of protecting the underwater cultural heritage. This chapter looks at some of the issues surrounding Article 303, including the law of salvage and finds, ‘first come, first served’ approach for archaeological and historical objects found on the continental shelf, regional cooperation, and freedom of the seas.

Keywords:   Underwater Cultural Heritage, UNESCO, United Nations Convention, cultural heritage, freedom of the seas, law of salvage, regional cooperation, continental shelf, historical objects

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