Publication Details

Bautista, L. (2013). Ensuring the preservation of submerged treasures for the next generation: the protection of underwater cultural heritage in international law. In H. Scheiber & M. Kwon (Eds.), Securing the Ocean for the Next Generation: Papers from a Law of the Sea Institute, UC Berkeley-Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology Conference, held in Seoul, May 2012 (pp. 554-595). United States: University of California, Berkeley Law.

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Berkeley Law – University of California

Additional Publication Information

ISBN: 9780615975221


This paper views the UCH Convention as an important and progressive development in the field of international law. The UCH Convention, akin to the LOSC, is likewise a compromise package of solutions to a delicate issue of indisputable global significance. Hence, despite its flaws, it should be regarded no less as a monumental international instrument for providing a wider scope of protection for underwater cultural heritage. The fact that the UCH Convention was adopted was success enough. In accordance with its Article 27, the UCH Convention entered into force on 2 January 2009 for States which have deposited their respective instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession on or before 2 October 2008. It shall enter into force for any other State three months after the deposit by that State of its instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession.

This paper will examine the international legal framework on the protection of underwater cultural heritage with particular emphasis on the protective regimes under the UCH Convention and the LOSC. This paper aims to: first, provide an overview of the theoretical and historical antecedents of the UCH Convention and its relation to the LOSC; second, discuss the salient provisions of the UCH Convention; third, compare the protective regimes afforded to underwater cultural heritage within the differe~.t maritime zones under both the LOSC and the UNESCO Convention· and fourth, identity the promises of the UNESCO Convention' framework as well as issues and gaps that need to be addressed.