The Margin of Safety Is Too Narrow!
Article 1(a) of the 2001 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Heritage states that –
“Underwater cultural heritage” means all traces of human existence having cultural, historical or archaeological character which have been partially or totally under water, periodically or continuously, for at least 100 years.
The Titanic sank on the 15 April 1912 – more than 1,500 people lost their lives. Arlan Ettinger, and his New York auction house Guernsey’s Auctioneers & Brokers, will be holding their auction of more than 5,000 Titanic artefacts on the 11 April 2012 (some reports give the 1 April) just a few days before the 100th anniversary of the luxury liner’s tragic sinking, and just short of UNESCO’s declaration that artefacts which have been partially or totally under water for at least 100 years are ‘cultural heritage’.
The Titanic sinking by Willy Stöwer, 1912. Source Wikipedia
The margin of safety (morality) here is narrow, and given that purchases at auction may take more than a few weeks to complete, seller and buyer in this case may find themselves in breach of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Heritage. Let’s hope that that possibility will encourage this ‘lot’ to find a more fitting end than the one that awaits it under the auctioneer’s hammer.
The 1912 cartoon above (source Wikipedia) depicts a man representing the public and clutching a copy of a newspaper with the headline ‘THE TITANIC’ while pounding his fist on a ‘PUBLIC SERVICE’ desk belonging to a man representing ‘The Companies’.
See also the feature on The Inclusive Museum website.