San Diego International Law Journal

Library of Congress Authority File


Document Type



In recent years, as technology permitting previously impossible underwater salvage operations has become available, ancient principles of the laws of salvage and of finds as applied to sunken ships have come under attack. Those who would limit or preclude the application of salvage and finds principles and the conduct of salvage operations in the context of shipwrecks have advocated changes in both the common law of admiralty and in related statutory law. They have also supported an international convention on the subject. Academic commentary favoring heightened preservation praises these developments and promotes further initiatives to protect the "underwater cultural heritage" from salvors who are said to be encouraged by traditional salvage and finds law to pay no heed to historic preservation or the protection of the environment.