New collaboration hinders looters

12 October 2020 10:10

Photo: Anders P Näsberg

Shipwreck looting in the Baltic Sea is a growing problem. Vrak – Museum of Wrecks is now joining forces with several major government agencies to prevent the wrecks from being damaged and emptied of their contents. These underwater crime fighters recently met up on the Coast Guard’s ship off Dalarö in the Stockholm archipelago to exchange experiences.

The new cooperative efforts to prevent shipwreck looting in the Baltic Sea require a wide range of skills. The museum’s maritime archaeologists are contributing expertise on the wrecks and their history. A heightened presence and radar surveillance of some of the wrecks should make the wreck looters’ job much more difficult.

Every now and then, the archaeologists discover that anything from a single souvenir to entire loads of objects have been stolen from the wrecks, only to be sold on the global market. With fewer objects on the wrecks, maritime archaeologists will find it more tricky to interpret their histories. These cultural heritage crimes can now hopefully be reduced so that future generations also get the chance to see the wrecks in their entirety.

Collaborators include the Coast Guard, the Maritime Police, the National Operations Department of the police, the Navy, the Prosecution Authority, the National Heritage Board, the County Administrative Board and the Museum of Wrecks.

Watch the video on fighting underwater crime!

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