Malta Shipwreck © Erik Hausted Larsson / Shutterstock

The aim of the 2001 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage is to enable States to protect their submerged heritage as cultural treasure of humanity. The 2001 Convention is widely recognized as the foremost document in the field setting ethics, providing legal site protection and establishing scientific guidelines for activities directed at submerged heritage. Learn more about the underwater cultural heritage on the UNESCO 2001 Convention.

Throughout history many of the ships travelling the Maritime Silk Road perished, now lying on the seabed as important source of historic information. The remains of sunken cities, port structures and shipwrecks qualify as underwater cultural heritage protected by the UNESCO 2001 Convention. They embody a magnificent heritage with great, but yet mainly unused potential for research, education and tourism. They are a time capsule and a snapshot of life in the moment of the sinking of the vessel or of submersion of a port. Today, these scientifically most valuable sites are highly threatened by extensive treasure-hunting and impacting industrial operations. Every day sites are destroyed.

Through the Silk Road Online Platform it is possible to consult the principal maritime silk routes and discover underwater cultural heritage in the world.