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Maritime Legacies and the Law

Effective Legal Governance of WWI Wrecks

Craig Forrest

The recent centenary of WWI has prompted a shift in the way attention is focused on legacy shipwrecks. This timely book considers the development of the laws that apply to these wrecks and the issues that surround them, and deftly analyses the adequacy of the existing legal framework to fulfil its promise of protecting legacy wrecks for future generations as historical and archaeological resources, memorials and, most importantly, as maritime war graves.
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Chapter 3: The legal framework

Craig Forrest


This chapter introduces the legal framework applicable to wrecks, including, but especially, legacy wrecks. This involves a complex interaction between private law, particularly property law, admiralty law and international law. Importantly, it considers in some detail the constitutional framework contained in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (LOSC) within which many matters affecting legacy wrecks are addressed. It is an evolving legal seascape that has adapted to these changing values, but to different degrees and at different speeds in various States. As wrecks of a world war, of different nationalities and lying in waters of different States, their future is dependent on a uniform body of law applied by all States; a role that international law seeks to fulfil.

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