UK Protected Wrecks – Diver Fined

A diver has been fined over £1,000 for removing artefacts from a protected shipwreck off South Ronaldsay in the Orkney Islands. The HMS Duke of Albany had been torpedoed in 1916 with significant loss of life and was designated as a ‘protected place’ by the Secretary of State for Defence in 2010 under the terms of the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986. The Act makes it a criminal offence to remove or tamper with any item that is part of a wreck designated under the Act without a government licence. There are currently 67 such wrecks designated in UK or international waters. For more details visit Other historical wreck sites are designated under the Protection of Wrecks Act (1973). These are sites that are likely to be the remains of a vessel, or its contents, which are of historical, artistic or archaeological importance. 61 wreck sites are designated under this act in the UK. Visiting divers need a licence to dive these sites, and any archaeological work can also only be carried out via a licence process. Take a look at for more information on the sites and licence procedures.

By Carolina Schultz, TQM coordinator, PADI EMEA

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