Or a genuine resource? Beauty, they say, is in the eye of the beholder. But do resources belong to … whom?
it was discovered that the wreck of HMS Exeter, an eight-inch Royal Navy cruiser of WW2 has been totally removed (gone, departed, no longer extant) by salvagers. Some will call them vultures—but are they?
‘science’ of archaeology has ruthlessly plundered tombs and battlefields with mad reckless abandonment (and nary a twinge of conscience) all over the world for generations. So: what is the difference between taking artefacts from Cannae, Lepanto, Trafalgar, The Somme, Kohima, the Deep Blue Sea, Pusan, Hanoi, Aleppo? (Only time …)
All that remains of Exeter now is a large dent* in the seabed.
Someone went to a great deal of bother and expense to salvage thousands of tons of
rust steel, brass, bronze, copper and stuff; for subsequent resale and profit.
Exeter, post battle of River Plate
Even all bashed about that metal was well worth salvaging, to someone who simply doesn’t care for now-ancient history, or the sensitivities of foreign cultures.
TO NOT DIGRESS
all over the world some people are searching for
fame missing ships—to provide glory for the finders ‘closure for the relatives of the deceased’. For WW2 ships most of the folks who knew the players at the time are now history themselves, and we’ve moved into an entirely different age. Entirely different technology, entirely different mindset.
But: those ships are ‘war graves’~! (SFX: loud justified squawk here, please)
Oh … really?
One of the articles I read on Exeter’s salvage said that there are/would be no human remains left there now. Nary a skerrick. Such a sunken ship was, before salvage, a battlefield, yes; a scene of great sacrifice and fear and such—but now simply a metal mine. Viewpoint is everything. Pragmatism wins.
I OFFER (1)
that the folks who salvaged that lot took quite a few risks themselves, if only to swim down with a rope and tie it to the gun barrel or whatever. It wouldn’t have come easily. And possibly if any ammo left hadn’t dissolved it might have crystallised into something hideously sensitive and dangerous.
And that they weren’t British—or if they were, they weren’t of a generation with any personal investment in WW2.
Possibly they were Asians, and of totally different religion and philosophies anyway; with as much concern for deceased round-eyes as perhaps the great Petrie had for the late Pharaoh Khafre.
I OFFER (2)
That if any more wrecks are found they be kept entirely secret. (Rather a meaningless suggestion given the readily available technologies of today, but better than nothing.)
Possibly the site of the once-was-a-wreck (okay, the dent) be marked up as a grave site and have done with it; anyone interested can come along and drop overboard a few flowers.
I HAVE BEEN
On a warship making courtesy calls on the wrecks of Prince of Wales and Repulse. Let me tell you, there’s nothing much to see from above but sea.
I’m pretty sure that it won’t be too long before those ships too become mere dents … and there’ll be more, many more; grave robber/salvagers aren’t choosey. Simply posting signs or appealing to their consciences won’t stop them.
wreck-site (dent) of HMS Exeter