NOAA stresses preservation of shipwrecks

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is using maritime archaeology to help preserve shipwrecks in U.S. coastal waters.

About 3,000 ships and submarines of many countries are thought to have sunk in America’s national marine sanctuary waters. NOAA scientists, oceanographers and divers have discovered 400 sites. The science applied to these discoveries is known as maritime archaeology.

The administration is responsible for preserving and protecting the ships and their artifacts on behalf of the country’s maritime heritage. Some wrecks still hold the remains of passengers and crew members. Navy wrecks are protected under the Sunken Military Craft Act and foreign vessels are protected under international law as gravesites.