THE NETHERLANDS – It took a while (18 years), but Curacao, Sint Maarten and the Netherlands are going to work on the UNESCO Underwater Heritage Treaty.
The Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science Ingrid van Engelshoven has informed the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament that “work is currently being done on draft legislative proposals and accompanying explanatory memorandums for implementation and ratification of the treaty. It concerns an approval law (kingdom law) and an implementation law (for the European and Caribbean part of the Netherlands). The aim is to have the draft legislative proposals and accompanying explanatory memoranda ready for consultation in the autumn of 2019. “The decision to ratify the treaty was taken by the Netherlands in 2001. Curacao and Sint Maarten have indicated that they want co-notification.”
The urgency to better protect underwater heritage is high, according to the UNESCO committee in the Netherlands. “New technologies make it easier to reach places that have often remained intact for centuries. This development offers opportunities to discover and learn more and more about what lies beneath the surface of the water, but it also has the effect that recovery companies and treasure hunters can plunder and destroy wrecks. By violating these locations, a wealth of archaeological information can be lost, and sailor graves disturbed.”