This story is a month old, but relevant to an ongoing discussion about this post (please take a minute and join the debate!). On October 11, BBC News reported that a letter, written by the presidents of associations of European naval veterans and condemning ongoing Dutch salvage efforts, had been published in European newspapers. The salvors are pulling scrap metal from three WWI British cruisers sunk off the Dutch coast by a German submarine in 1914.
As Vice Admiral John McAnally, president of the Royal Naval Association and president of the International Maritime Confederation, which includes European naval veterans’ associations, told the BBC:
“We think they should be treated with due care and respect, and not regarded as a source of profitable scrap metal.” Vice Adm McAnally said there would be “a tremendous fuss” if something like this happened on land. He added: “The fact is sunken ships in international waters are under no jurisdiction. As I am aware, the government shares the same frustration as we do.”
So is this desecrating graves or legitimate salvage?