An 18th-century British warship that sank in 1748 near present-day Miami in waters now within Biscayne National Park is now protected by the National Park Service under terms of an international memorandum.
“This agreement underscores the significance that our agency and the British Royal Navy place on cultural resources,” said Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “In addition to preservation of this important site, the formal memorandum of understanding is the basis for future cooperative projects.”
Commodore Eric Fraser of the British Royal Navy represented the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in signing the Memorandum of Understanding to protect the sunken ship HMS Fowey. The wreck is located in Biscayne National Park. (Refresh your screen if the video doesn't appear.)
“The United Kingdom is hugely grateful for the professional diligence and care shown by the National Park Service in the protection of the historic wreck of HMS Fowey,” said Fraser. “This memorandum will see UK and US organizations working closely together in the further exploration of the site and it sets an excellent framework for collaboration in future projects.”
On June 27, 1748, HMS Fowey, a fifth-rate frigate, struck a coral reef and sank. The wreck was discovered inside the park by a sport diver in the 1970s. National Park Service divers later identified the wreck as that of HMS Fowey.
Director Jarvis said the HMS Fowey site is a nationally significant archeological resource, listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
“As an archeological site it continues to provide information about 18th-century maritime life and the historic maritime landscape of South Florida,” he said in prepared comments.
The memorandum of understanding recognizes British title to the wreck and the intention of the National Park Service to continue to care for it in accordance with its own policies, the Sunken Military Craft Act of 2004, and the UNESCO convention on Underwater Cultural Heritage.
“This is the latest step in the continuing preservation effort for Fowey, and solidifies our relationship with the British people in protecting our shared heritage for the enjoyment and education of future generations," said Biscayne Superintendent Brian Carlstrom.