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National Heritage Resources Act, 1999 (Act No.25 of 1999)


South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) Permit Regulations

Chapter VIII : Application for Permit :  Wrecks (Section 35(4))

29. Standards of practice


(1) Prior to any work taking place under authority of a permit, the permit holder must arrange a meeting with SAHRA's maritime archaeologist or other designated representative to discuss the proposed work programme and mutually agree on liaison methods during the project.


(2) The permit holder must, in accordance with methods agreed with the collaborating institution and/or project archaeologist—
(a) conduct a satisfactory pre-disturbance survey of the wreck site;
(b) record and excavate the wreck site;
(c) recover and conserve wreck objects;
(d) catalogue and number objects removed from the wreck;
(e) treat wrecks as non-renewable archaeological sites and not remove objects and material from their original position unnecessarily;
(f) treat all human remains with respect;
(g) leave the site neat and tidy during and after an excavation and fill in the excavation or stabilize the sections, unless SAHRA grants written exemption; and
(h) write up the results of the project.


(3) Permit holders must inform the collaborating institution and/or project archaeologist at least 24 hrs in advance whenever they intend working on a wreck site. The information to be given should include the names of all the people to be involved, the boat registration, the working area, time and place of departure from and expected time and place of return to shore.


(4) While working on the wreck, the permit holder must, if conditions permit, place a buoy with the SAHRA permit number clearly displayed on it at the centre of the wreck site, as close as possible to the geographic coordinates of the wreck site. Smaller buoys may be placed around the perimeter of the wreck site.


(5) The team archaeologist referred to in regulation 28(3) is not obliged to dive with the team, but may do so at his/her discretion.


(6) No explosives, cranes or other equipment designed to move large quantities of overburden or obstructions may be used without advance permission in writing from SAHRA.


(7) SAHRA will provide each permit holder with a bound accession register with prenumbered pages, which remains the property of SAHRA. Each page of the accession register must be clearly marked with the name of the wreck site. At the end of the permit period the accession register must be returned to SAHRA and a copy lodged with the collaborating institution.


(8) Each object removed from a wreck site must be marked with an accession number. The accession number and a description of every object, including the material of which it is made, the grid reference and measurements to datum points, the name of the collector, and date of collection the object must be entered into the accession register as soon as possible.


(9) Every object recovered must be declared at the nearest office of the Department of Finance: Customs and Excise within seven days of landing. The material must be placed in bond at the collaborating institution or other place that is approved by the relevant Controller of Customs and Excise and that has adequate conservation facilities, until the duty is paid.


(10) No wood, ivory, other organic materials or ferrous metals may be removed from a wreck site before special facilities for their conservation have been organised to the satisfaction of SAHRA. If in doubt, the object must be left underwater until SAHRA, the project archaeologist or collaborating institution has been consulted.


(11) The permit holder is at all times responsible for the excavation work and the objects recovered and he/she or his/her authorised representative, whose name shall be furnished to SAHRA, must be present at all times during the work.


(12) No other divers other than those listed in the application may take part in the project without the prior permission of SAHRA.


(13) Whenever work takes place on the site the permit holder must be able to produce the original SAHRA permit for inspection by SAHRA or its authorised representative.


(14) A permit holder must keep a log of all dives on the wreck sites during the period of validity of a permit. The log must record the date, times, names of persons involved, weather and sea conditions, work done, and any other information set out in the Guidelines. The log must be available for inspection by SAHRA and must be submitted with the reports required in terms of the permit.


(15) The permit holder is responsible for—
(a) all costs involved in the excavation, including duties, royalties and surcharges payable to the Department of Finance: Customs and Excise; and
(b) the cost of the transportation of recovered material to the collaborating institution and the conservation thereof:

Provided that in cases where the collaborating institution has made a special request for an object that the permit holder would not otherwise have recovered, the institution will be responsible for any additional costs involved.