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The remains of the “Titanic“, at the bottom of the sea since its famous shipwreck in 1912, will be protected from tourists and explorers by a treaty between the United States and the United Kingdom that entered into force on Tuesday, the British government said.
“This crucial agreement with the United States to preserve the wreck means that it will now be treated with the sensitivity and respect due to the place where 1,500 people rest,” the secretary of state of maritime transport, Nusrat Ghani, said in a statement, coinciding with a Visit Belfast, where the ship was built.
The treaty, signed in 2003 by the United Kingdom, now enters into force after being ratified in November by the United States.
This allows the two countries to “grant or refuse licenses to enter or remove objects from the wreck,” according to the statement.
The “Titanic“, which is in international waters, was only protected until now by the Unesco Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage.
The giant ocean liner, which departed from Southampton, in the south of England, on April 10, 1912 bound for New York, was the largest in the world at the time of its launch and tragically sank after hitting an iceberg five days after.
Of the 2,224 passengers and crew, almost 1,500 died in the tragedy.
Since the discovery in 1985 of the wreck in international waters of the Atlantic Ocean, 650 km from the Canadian coast and 4,000 meters deep, it has been visited by countless treasure hunters and tourists.
After an expedition in 2012, a group of scientists noted “recent damage to the ‘Titanic’ hull by submarines” used to visit it. They also warned of “disturbing amounts of waste and debris thrown by ships on the surface or abandoned near the wreck.”
The International Maritime Organization expressed concern in a report on “the impacts already visible, which dishonor this place of burial” of those killed in the accident.