Marine Archäologie und sonstige auf dem Meeresboden gefundene Gegenstände - 10.1628/000389206783402945 - Mohr Siebeck

Rainer Lagoni

Marine Archäologie und sonstige auf dem Meeresboden gefundene Gegenstände

Section: Treatises
Archiv des Völkerrechts (AVR)

Volume 44 () / Issue 3, pp. 328-362 (35)

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ect« is, nor do they specify the mentioned obligations of States. In addition the specific cross-reference of Art. 303(2) LOSC to Art. 33 LOSC is by no means clear. The legal effect of this linkage with the rights of the coastal State in its contiguous zone is in dispute and therefore subject to interpretation. A broad view taken in this paper would grant the coastal State comprehensive jurisdiction over such objects. This would turn its contiguous zone – if it has established such zone in accordance with Art. 33 LOSC – into an archaeological protection zone.Already before the Law of the Sea Convention entered into force, in 1992 the Council of Europe concluded the European Convention on the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage in Valetta, which shall improve the insufficient legal situation concerning such objects. It provides on the regional level, inter alia, for the establishment of archaeological protection zones beyond the territorial sea. These zones, however, are only effective inter partes. The global UNESCO-Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage of 2001 follows a different approach. It envisages a sophisticated régime of co-operation between States with regard to such objects and to archaeological and historical sites as well. Archaeological objects are defined as those which have been partially or totally under water, periodically or continuously, for at least 100 years. Yet, States are reluctant to ratify this Convention, which did not enter into force until today, because it shall apply also to warships and government ships and because it grants the coastal State a strong position as a »Coordinating State« in its exclusive economic zone and on its continental shelf.The legal situation of sunken ships that are no archaeological or historical objects depends on their status. Merchant vessels maintain their nationality until they are deleted from the register of ships in accordance with the relevant rules and regulations of the flag State. This paper demonstrates this by applying German law as an example. Property with regard to the ship or its cargo is lost in accordance with the private law of the owner. But for reasons of the safety of navigation or for environmental or other reasons coastal States sometimes take measures against wrecks in their exclusive economic zone or on their continental shelf. There are also particular international agreements on specific wrecks. The situation with regard to civil aircraft is generally the same. Foreign warships and other government ships used only on non-commercial service have complete immunity from jurisdiction, and this immunity is maintained also when the ship has sunk. The same applies again to military aircraft.The paper concludes with references to the law of property, of salvage and of finds.

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