Many of these wrecks are threatened by salvage operations, deliberate destruction and looting. But experts from 36 states meeting in Belgium heard how the Unesco Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage will increase safeguards. Introduced in 2001, the convention only applies to ships sunk at least 100 years ago.
With the centenary of World War One imminent, the agreement will soon
be extended to thousands of sites. It will prevent large scale
pillaging, commercial exploitation, scrap metal recovery, and will have
regulations on the incidental impacts, such as the problem of trawlers
going over World War One sites.