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Introduction I Repatriation I The Royal Navy I Contemporary British Government Policy on Wrecks I San Carlos I Zwanenburg

Contemporary British Government Policy on Wrecks

As a general principle, Her Majesty's Government considers military vessels that sank with loss of life to represent military maritime graves.  As such the Government believes that they should remain undisturbed to the maximum extent possible, and works to ensure this.

In November 2001 the Under Secretary of State for Defence announced that greater protection would be given to the remains of vessels lost in military service, following increased public concern over wreck disturbance and "trophy hunting" by a minority of irresponsible divers.  The Protection of Military Remains Act (PMRA) had been passed in 1986 but its application to sunken vessels had not previously been enforced. Following extensive consultation with veterans' associations, the diving community, maritime archaeologists and other sea users and interested parties, an initial representative group of wrecks were designated under the Act as controlled sites (where all marine activity including diving within a specific distance from a the wreck requires prior licensing by the Ministry of Defence). A second group of wrecks were designated as protected places; under this regime diving is permitted but under a "look but don't touch or enter" basis.  The MOD is conducting a rolling review of British wrecks, in military service when lost, and designating them under PMRA as appropriate.  As at November 2006, a total of forty-eight military wrecks had been designated under the Act. Details are given below.

Name

Location

HMS BULWARK

 Off Sheerness, Kent

HMS NATAL

Cromarty Firth

HMS A7

Off Plymouth

HMS DASHER

Clyde

HMS ROYAL OAK

Scapa Flow

HMS VANGUARD

Scapa Flow

UB 81

Solent

HMS H5

Off Anglesey

HMS HAMPSHIRE

Orkneys

HMS AFFRAY

Off isle of Wight

HMS FORMIDABLE

Off Devon

HMS EXMOUTH

Off Wick, Grampian

Total = 12

Protected Places (UK territorial waters)

Name

Location

HMS ACHERON

Off Isle of Wight

HMS BLACKWOOD

 Off Dorset

HMS BOADICEA

Off Portland

HMS BULLEN
Off N.W Scotland
HMS EXMOOR
Off Lowestoft
HMS K4
Firth of Forth
HMS K17
Firth of Forth
HMS M1
Start Point Devon
HMS M2
Off Portland
HMS SWORDFISH
Off Isle of Wight
HMS UMPIRE
North Sea
HMS VANDAL
Lochranza Scotland
HMS VORTIGERN
Off Cromer
HMS WARWICK
Trevose Head Cornwall
U-12
Dover Straits
UB-65
Off Padstow Cornwall

Total = 16

Protected Places (International waters)

Name

Location

HMS ARDENT

North Sea (Jutland)

HMS BLACK PRINCE

North Sea (Jutland)

HMS DEFENCE

North Sea (Jutland)

HMS FORTUNE

North Sea (Jutland)

HMS GLOUCESTER

Mediterranean

HMS HOOD

Atlantic

HMS INDEFATIGABLE

North Sea (Jutland)

HMS INVINCIBLE

North Sea (Jutland)

HMS NESTOR

North Sea (Jutland)

HMS NOMAD

North Sea (Jutland)

HMS PRINCE OF WALES

Off Malaysia

HMS QUEEN MARY

North Sea (Jutland)

HMS REPULSE

Off Malaysia

HMS SHARK

North Sea (Jutland)

HMS SHEFFIELD

Falkland Islands

RFA SIR GALAHAD

Falkland Islands

HMS SPARROWHAWK

North Sea (Jutland)

HMS TIPPERARY

North Sea (Jutland)

HMS TURBULENT

North Sea (Jutland)

HMS WARRIOR

North Sea (Jutland)

Total = 20

July 2007

 

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