JEAIL > Volume 9(1); 2016 > Notes & Comments
Research Paper
Published online: May 30, 2016

Competing Interests in the Underwater Cultural Heritage: A Question of Balance

M. Z. Mohd Nor & Anowar Zahid
Faculty of Law, UKM, Bangi 43600, Selangor, Malaysia.
Corresponding Author:

ⓒ Copyright YIJUN Institute of International Law
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The exploitation of the underwater cultural heritage (UCH) involves various competing interests, which are of private and public, commercial and non-commercial nature. The 2001 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage (CPUCH) aims to deal with various issues apropos those competing interests. Its basic concerns include how UCH should be best protected, how in situ preservation should be practised, whether UCH should be commercialized at all or not, and whether salvage should be included in the UCH law. This paper examines these said competing interests and then looks for a balance between them. With an in-depth analysis of the concerned principles and rules, it argues for combination of 'mutuality interests' in consonance with the basic legislative scheme of the CPUCH. This approach is meant for the exploitation of UCH both for commercial and non-commercial purposes, which would, in fact, fulfill the expectation of the international community.

Keywords : Underwater Cultural Heritage, Competing Interests, Exploitation, CPUCH, In Situ Preservation

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