R.M.S Titanic - NOAA Guidelines

Rusticle hanging from the stern of the Titanic.
Rusticle hanging from the stern. (NOAA Photo Library)

As proposed by the R.M.S. Titanic Maritime Memorial Act of 1986, (1986 Act), NOAA developed Guidelines in consultation with the United Kingdom, France, Canada, and other interested countries for activities directed at R.M.S. Titanic. These guidelines set standards for research, exploration and salvage activities at the wreck site. They are based on the most widely accepted principles in archeology, including the International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) International Charter on the Protection and Management of Underwater Cultural Heritage, as well as the United States Department of the Interior’s Standards and Guidelines for Archeology and Historic Preservation. The NOAA Guidelines and Annex to the Agreement are similar to the Rules annexed to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Convention offsite link on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage of 2001. 

The Federal Admiralty Court sitting in the Eastern District of Virginia t has consistently respected the 1986 Act, NOAA Guidelines and the Agreement in its Titanic orders.  In particular, the covenants and conditions specifically require that the collection of artifacts be “managed according to the professional standards recognized in the NOAA Guidelines, the International Agreement and the Annexed Rules, and the federal regulations governing the curation of the federally owned and administered archaeological collections.” Titanic 2010, 742 F. Supp. 2d 784, 792 (quoting R.M.S. Titanic, Inc. v. The Wrecked & Abandoned Vessel, No. 2:93cv902, at 6 n.12 (E.D. Va. Apr. 15, 2008))(Guidelines incorporated in regard to definitions of artifacts, Qualified Intuition, conservation, curation, and deaccessioning).

Additional reference information: Some of these links are to external sites.

Last updated July 2, 2018