§ Mr. Onslow
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received concerning the disposal of antiquities recovered from the wreck of the warship Invincible, what steps he has taken to ensure that such disposals conform to his policy as outlined on 8 March,Official Report, column 155, together with the conditions under which the excavation of this wreck was licensed by his Department; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Portillo
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State met a delegation on 11 July led by my right hon. Friend the Member for Woking (Mr. Onslow) and representations have also been made by the British Archaeological Trust.
The licence granted by my Department under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973 provides:
- (a)that diving operations within the designated area are to be carried out in accordance with plans agreed by the Advisory Committee on Historic Wreck Sites and under the overall direction of the project's archaeological director;
- (b)and that all artefacts recovered are to be given immediate preservative treatment in accordance with the advice of a named expert.
Disposal of artefacts recovered is subject to the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act 1894 and cannot be the subject of conditions attached to a licence issued under the 1973 Act.