Signaling at Sea in Commemoration, 28 June 2014

© Karl Brady. Lusitania Ian Lawler

On the occasion of the Centenary of World War I and to call attention to the threatened underwater cultural heritage of that conflict, UNESCO called on all vessels at sea to use commemorative signaling by half-masting of the ship’s flags or ensigns on 28 June 2014. Ships in harbor were encouraged to use a remembrance sound signal on the same day at 7 pm (hour of the first shot fired in the conflict) to commemorate the Centenary. These symbolic actions served to call for peace and reconciliation, to remember the victims that perished in the war and to remind of the need to protect the underwater cultural heritage from that period.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) confirmed its support to UNESCO’s call by issuing a Safety of Navigation Circular dedicated to this commemorative purpose. The International Maritime Organization is the specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping.

The signaling occurred at the same time as a Scientific Conference and Commemorative Event on the Underwater Cultural Heritage from World War I which took place on 26-28 June 2014 and as a Special Dive for Peace Day inviting the public to responsibly access submerged heritage from WWI.

The initiatives result from a decision of the Meeting of States Parties to the UNESCO 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage to organize special events to increase awareness and protection of the threatened submerged heritage from World War I in occasion of the war’s Centenary.

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