Banks puts ship treasure hunt on hold
Saturday 19 July 1997
Tony Banks, the culture, media and sports minister, issued the order on the Hanover, a mail ship, to prevent any "unauthorised interference because of the historical and archaeological importance".
The decision is likely to spark a row as the treasure hunter, Colin Martin, has spent upwards of pounds 1m in trying to find the site of the packet which sank off Cornwall in 1763 laden with gold, diamonds and cannons worth pounds 50m at today's prices. As recently as Thursday, his salvage company recovered 14 cannons from the ship, which lies on the seabed off Perranporth.
Last night, Mr Martin was taking legal advice and vowing to continue. He condemned the department's decision as "disgusting" because the company had been acting in a "perfectly correct manner".
"We're carrying on exactly as before because the ship is in danger. We removed the guns, so there's nothing to keep it there and it's going to end up smashed to pieces if there's a storm," he said
Earlier this year, the Post Office applied to get the wreck designated because it claimed ownership. It said the Hanover was part of the packet service which was the forerunner of the modern Post Office. But no order was granted.
However, a Department of Culture archaeological diving unit has been observing the salvage operations. The department decided to step in yesterday because the site was considered to be under "immediate threat".
To proceed, Mr Martin, 35, and his company, Hydrasalve, will have to apply for a diving licence. These may be granted to commercial divers but they have to satisfy the department they have a proper plan and expert advice.
The department spokeswoman said: "We need to be satisfied that the method of operation is acceptable and is not going to damage the archaeology of the site. The ship is a historic ship from the 18th century and had a valuable cargo."
A Post Office spokeswoman said it had not lobbied the department to obtain the order. But she added: "We are relieved that the wreck and its contents can now be surveyed and possibly salvaged in line with best practice. It will enable this part of our heritage - both national and Post Office - to be properly studied."
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
£17000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Helpdesk Support Technician - 12 ...
£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance...
£30000 - £38000 per annum + pesion + holidays: The Jenrick Group: World Wide S...
£35000 per annum + Pension+Bupa: The Jenrick Group: We are recruiting for an e...