Possess, export and import underwater cultural heritage

Most artefacts from shipwrecks, including all old Dutch shipwreck artefacts, are legally owned by the Commonwealth of Australia under the Commonwealth Navigation Act 2012 and the 1972 Agreement between the Netherlands and Australia concerning old Dutch Shipwrecks, regardless of who may currently have the item in their possession. Under international convention, ownership of sunken military aircraft and vessels resides with the Department of Defence or the military authorities of a relevant foreign county.

Refer to the Australian Government website for more information including:

  • Permit application for possession or export of underwater cultural heritage
  • Notification of the possession or transfer of underwater cultural heritage
  • Permit application to import underwater cultural heritage into Australia.