Letter to the Editor

Regarding Alfred Sasako's letter of 2 July 2007: "Solomons Urged to Clean up

Iron Bottom Sound".

The precedent that Mr Sasako cites has to do with the internal government of Australia and an Australian state; not with a government dealing with a foreign one.

Secondly, once the Solomons became independent the government took over ownership of wrecks. Moreover, in the 1940s the U.S. made it quite clear it relinquished all salvage claims to wrecks and that was that.

There can be no legal claim as international law now stands. Morally, however, the protagonists who fought there and once owned the vessels should consider the lack of capacity in Solomons to deal with such a problem.

Readers may be interested in the following: Gregg Anthony Cervi, "War Wrecks and the Environment: Who’s responsible for the Legacy of War? A case study: Solomon Islands and the United States," Journal of Environmental Law and Litigation14 (1999): 351-399.


Judith A Bennett

Associate Professor of History

Department of History

University of Otago


New Zealand/Aotearoa

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