The Executive Council of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) has given approval to the University of Connecticut and the Institute of Nautical Archaeology of the United States to salvage shipwrecks on the seabed of the Scarborough Harbour that have been there for over four centuries.
The project was agreed upon at Wednesday’s weekly meeting of the Council, Chief Secretary Orville London disclosed at a media briefing later that day. He said the underwater search will begin in the third quarter of this year for 12 Dutch ships sunk during fierce sea battles for the island.
The THA Chief Secretary indicated that the project will be undertaken at no cost to the Assembly and all the pieces of artefacts retrieved from the seabed will remain in Tobago at the Fort King George Museum or some other place. The project is being funded by National Geographic as well as Non Governmental Organisations in the United States.
He said the project will yield many benefits for the island by way of publicity via a variety of media outlets and an opportunity to educate the diving public and the broader public on the values of conservation and the study of various cultural sources. “Imagine a cruise ship docking and dive enthusiasts can actually have a dive just a couple meters away. It is the only site in the world where you have a dozen or more ships that have been down at the bottom of the ocean for over four centuries,” he added.
Earlier this month London met the US Ambassador Beatrice Welters to discuss the proposals submitted by the university.
He said the Assembly was very pleased to collaborate with the university, the institute and Texas ANM University since this particular activity will redound to the benefit of Tobago in research and dive tourism.