Can States Parties also protect recent shipwrecks?
States Parties to the 2001 Convention must respect the benchmark of 100 years minimum requirement, set by Article 1.1 (a) of the 2001 Convention. However, they can also do more, i.e. protect more recent submerged sites, as for example sites from the world wars of the twentieth century, like Truk Lagoon in Micronesia or Scapa Flow near Scotland.Since the 2001 Convention is by its very nature a contract, it obliges States to respect certain obligations and gives them certain rights. Every State can of course “over-fulfil” its obligations and guarantee even better protection than required by the 2001 Convention to underwater cultural heritage, through its national laws.This also means that when, for instance, a national law foresees protection of sites that are only 50 years old, it does not need to be changed when a State joins the 2001 Convention since that law is already in compliance with the 2001 Convention.