[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Saturday, 7 October 2006, 09:34 GMT 10:34 UK
Treasure hunting banned at wreck
A wreck off the Cornish coast has been given new protection from divers hoping to plunder its treasure.

Portuguese merchant vessel the St Anthony sank off Gunwalloe in 1527 in a heavy storm.

She went down with a mixed cargo including copper and silver ingots and, it is believed, a princess's dowry, some of which still survives.

The site covered by the Protection of Wrecks Act has been extended after part of the wreckage was spread by storms.

'Extremely rare'

The wreck site was discovered in 1981 and protected in 1982, but storms have strewn the wreckage over a large area.

Parts of the seabed at Gunwalloe Cove are notorious for their shifting sands which can change in height by as much as 20ft (6m) at a time.

Culture Minister David Lammy said redesignation would give the entire site protection from interference.

Mr Lammy said: "Shipwrecks from this era are extremely rare, and are wonderful examples of our - and the world's - maritime heritage.

"It is absolutely right that we make every effort to treasure and preserve them.

"I am pleased that the wreck of the St Anthony will continue to be protected and the remaining artefacts preserved for the benefit of future generations."

The St Anthony, owned by King John III of Portugal, was driven ashore in "an outrageous tempest of the sea" according to accounts of the time.

Local people spent all day and night salvaging much of the treasure, including bullion, the dowry of Princess Katherine, bride of King John of Portugal and sister of Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor.

Gunwalloe Cove is also the site of another "treasure ship", a Spanish boat which broke in two in a storm in the 1780s, spilling coins and bullion.

Kodima wreckers escape charge
18 Feb 03 |  England
New move to protect island wreck
26 Apr 06 |  Cornwall

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific