§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will appoint a Departmental committee, or some other appropriate investigation, to report what changes in the law are necessary to afford adequate protection to historic wrecks (wrecks more than 100 years old) against robbery, plunder, irresponsible interference and the other perils to which they are at present exposed.]
§ THE MINISTER OF STATE, BOARD OF TRADE (LORD BROWN)
My Lords, Her Majesty's Government said in another place that they would carry out an appropriate investigation into the need for a comprehensive review of Part IX of the Merchant Shipping Act 1894 for the purpose of giving better protection to wrecks of historic or archaeological interest. A body to investigate these problems will be set up in the near future. Its exact structure is under active consideration now.
§ LORD ILFORD
My Lords, while thanking the noble Lord for that mildly encouraging Answer, may I ask him whether this is not a matter which calls for a measure of urgency? Has the noble Lord read the reports of what has been taking place on the wreck of the "Amsterdam" off the Sussex coast?
§ LORD BROWN
Yes, my Lords, I have some information about what has been 318 taking place, and I note that the noble Lords thinks that the matter is urgent.