The Navy has eased its moratoriums on recovery of submerged macro artifacts and aircraft, officials with the Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) announced on July 08.
While the moratoriums are lifted, existing state and federal requirements, including the prohibitions contained in the Sunken Military Craft Act and associated permitting regimes remain in place.
“I have determined that such a blanket prohibition is untenable and too inflexible given our responsibility to the public. I am lifting the standing prohibitions put in place earlier,” saidSamuel Cox, the director of NHHC, who arrived in his new post in late December 2015.
Cox met with Navy leaders, industry members and curatorial staff members before coming to his decision. His determination to proceed cautiously takes into account the care of the irreplaceable cultural resources.
The moratorium was installed in mid-2014 by the previous NHHC Director, who wanted to verify that reliable, systemic conservation and preservation process measures were in place and adhered to. Those process measures included sufficient resourcing and planning assurance. Previously recovered artifacts still await preservation, conservation, or restoration.