Article Title

The Protection and Preservation of Underwater Cultural Heritage: The Practice of Indonesia


Law of the Sea Convention (LOSC) recognizes the protection and preservation of underwater cultural heritage found at sea, by emphasizing preferential rights of the State of country of origin, or the State of cultural origin, or the State of historical and archaeological origin. To preserve the rights of such States, LOSC implicitly allows the removal of underwater cultural heritage upon prior approval from coastal State based on State’s cooperation.

On the other hand, the Convention for the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage 2001 (2001 UCH Convention) strictly prohibited any exploitation and commercialization of such cultural heritage and applied the in-situ preservation for underwater cultural heritage.

This article aims to discuss the practice of Indonesia in regulating underwater cultural heritage found in Indonesian waters. This research found that Indonesia’s law allows the removal of underwater cultural heritage and made commercial salvage for underwater cultural heritage legal. In addition to this, with the enaction of current Job Creation Law 2021, underwater cultural heritage is listed as one of field over which open-investment applied. While Indonesia has national law relating to cultural heritage, provisions on underwater cultural heritage is lacking. This article proposes model that can be adopted by Indonesia in protecting and preserving underwater cultural heritage. It is argued that although Indonesia is not a party to UCH Convention 2001, it is the party of LOSC and is bind to the provisions envisaged in LOSC, that is to protect and preserve underwater cultural heritage

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