NHPP (National Heritage Protection Plan); DIVE magazine news; Odyssey to return Mercedes’ silver; Raymarine UK announces the successful winner of the National Historic Ships’ safety at sea award; EH recognises permanently fixed historic vessels as ‘heritage assets’; WWTC wreck dendro; BP oil spill; Lusitania expert


NHPP (National Heritage Protection Plan) – Unknown Marine Assets and Landscapes discussion

English Heritage is piloting using the Communities of Practice website to share information and ideas and to receive comments on the National Heritage Protection Plan (NHPP). The English Heritage website remains the main source of information and documents for the NHPP, so the intention is to use the Historic Environment public community on the Communities of Practice website for online discussions and for sharing ideas with colleagues working in the historic environment.

It is free to register on the website http://www.communities.idea.gov.uk.

The next live online discussion will be Tuesday 27 September, 2-5pm. Ian Oxley, Head of Maritime Archaeology for English Heritage, will be chairing a discussion to tell the Unknown Marine Assets and Landscapes activity for the NHPP which will discover, record, and find important sites in the marine historic environment.

DIVE magazine news

  • Chris Holden will be giving a lecture on the wreck of the Royal Charter, which sank off Anglesey in 1859 with the loss of 459 lives.

Federal court rules that Odyssey returns Mercedes’ salvaged material culture

A federal appeals court has ruled that Florida deep-sea explorers must give 17 tons of silver coins from a sunken 19th century Spanish galleon back to the government of Spain.

The Miami Herald

National Historic Ships’ award

At midday on Saturday 17th September at the Southampton Boat Show, Raymarine UK announced the Lowestoft sailing smack Excelsior as the successful recipient of the National Historic Ships’ award, receiving over £4,000 worth of electronic gear to enhance safety at sea, including an electronic chartplotter (C120W) and an AIS 500 (Automatic Identification System).

Excelsior is one of the National Historic Fleet – some 200 vessels included on the National Register of Historic Vessels which are of pre-eminent significance to the UK. She regularly cruises the North Sea and Channel with its busy shipping lines, covering some 4,000 miles per year with youth groups and passengers on board.

John Wylson, Technical Director of the Excelsior Trust, said: ‘We were delighted to hear the news that we are to be the recipients of the Raymarine Award. Nowadays, in the North Sea, there are so few navigation marks that it is no longer possible to make a passage in all conditions without a plotter. The AIS ability to enable one to call up a commercial vessel and let them know that you are actually a 100 ton sailing ship with seventeen souls on board that will take several minutes to tack is vital for future safety.’

National Historic Ships is the official voice for historic vessels in the UK, championing their interests and working to advise government and key funding bodies to ensure their long-term conservation wherever possible. The support of Raymarine in offering this Award has helped to highlight the vital importance of keeping the UK Historic Fleet safe at sea, protecting vessels which are an irreplaceable part of Britain’s maritime past.

English Heritage recognises permanently fixed historic vessels as ‘heritage assets’

In an important step forward in the attempts to seek protection for historic vessels, English Heritage has published new guidance relating to those craft registered on the National Register of Historic Vessels which are either ‘permanently fixed to the ground or to another permanent structure’. Registered vessels meeting this criteria will now be considered to have effectively entered the planning system and could therefore be eligible for designation according to the principles set down in Planning Policy Statement 5 (PPS5): Planning for the Historic Environment (March 2010).

This development is the result of repeated efforts by National Historic Ships ­– the official voice for historic vessels in the UK – to highlight the lack of statutory protection for these craft, which can currently be broken up, disposed of or abandoned regardless of their significance. Whilst the new guidance will not prevent the loss of our mobile heritage, it will raise the profile of historic vessels amongst local planning authorities. The new guidance on the Historic Environment Local Management (HELM) website encourages the registration of historic vessels on the relevant Historic Environment Record (HER), thereby ensuring that their significance is understood and considered in respect of any planning applications which might affect the vessel or its setting.

National Historic Ships has identified 25 registered historic vessels which will be immediately affected by this change in policy and, of these, more than half are included on the National Historic Fleet – some 200 vessels of pre-eminent national significance. National Historic Ships has contacted the relevant HERs to make them aware of these craft and will continue to work closely with English Heritage to advise on protection for these vessels on a case-by-case basis. In the meantime, the remaining 1, 083 vessels on the National Register remain at risk with no means of protection should they come under threat of loss. National Historic Ships continues to press for the introduction of a system of spot-listing, which would offer a means of safeguarding the most important vessels whilst alternative options for their future are explored.

Dendrochronology offers additional insight regarding World Trade Center shipwreck

Discovery News offers more information on how the eighteenth-century ship uncovered at the World Trade Center site in New York City was constructed.

Archaeological surprises found in the wake of BP oil spill

Archaeologists who have been required to go along with BP cleanup workers have come across important finds in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster and are now exploring historic American sites, ship wreck material, and a plantation site that used to exist along the coast, even a US military fort in the 1830s.

Ian Panter, principal conservator at York Archaeological Trust, called on to shed light on Lusitania finds

The latest finds – a telemotor, which was part of the ship’s steering mechanism, its telegraph and four portholes – were retrieved from the hull of the vessel last week in almost 330ft of water.

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