International expert meeting in Moscow on the ship wreck Vrouw Maria
The collaboration which was started in Helsinki last summer was continued in an international expert group meeting, where maritime archaeological research, conservation, and raising techniques were discussed. The decision of lifting the wreck or its cargo cannot be made until sufficient research based information about the state of the wreck is available. The wreck is situated in the Archipelago National Park, which means that adequate clarifications and licenses must be attained before any research operations.
Vrouw Maria was a Dutch merchant vessel that sank in 1771 on its way to St. Petersburg, the cargo was thought of including art treasures commissioned by the Russian Empress, Catherine the Great. The ship's wreck was found in Finnish territorial waters in 1999.
The Vrouw Maria lies at a depth of 41m in Finnish territorial waters; it is located in the Archipelago National Park area which is administered by Metsähallitus, the Finnish government land authority. The wreck is enshrined by the Finnish Antiquities Act (295/1963). According to article 20 §, the wreck and its cargo are the property of the Finnish government and the Finnish National Board of Antiquities answers for any procedures and research directed at the wreck.
The Finnish government is responsible for the wreck of Vrouw Maria nationally and internationally as the wreck is of significant cultural heritage. In terms of protecting the wreck and the research carried out, Finland applies internationally accepted ethical principles and practices.
- Päivi Salonen, Senior Advisor, Ministry of Education, mobile tel. +358 40 722 1072
- Satu Paasilehto, Counsellor of Government, Legal Affairs, Ministry of Education, mobile tel. +358 400 442 638