Archeologists and historians are running into an increasingly common dilemma when investigating shipwrecks off the coast of the Phillipines. Legally registered research teams are being instructed by China’s coast guard to leave the shipwreck sites claiming that they are the property of the People’s Republic of China. While we have focused a lot in class on government land grabs for financial gains, this maneuver by China reaches a new level.
It is certainly a sly move, the Earth’s oceans have no end of shipwrecks that offer so many unique resources. The ships hold secrets of the past, history lessons, and of course the most valued aspect, riches. Popular Mechanic estimates that there is roughly $60 billion in gold and silver at the bottom of the Earth’s oceans. While this is not the only reason China has claimed these areas and shipwrecks as their property, the value of the shipwrecks is no hidden agenda. There is already a large private industry in shipwreck recovery and China looks like it is preparing to get in on the action.