CNMI TO DEVELOP UNDER WATER WWII PRESERVE

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Submerged planes, tanks considered war heritage

By Richelle Ann Agpoon

SAIPAN, CNMI (Mariana Variety, July 23, 2009) - World II sites in the CNMI will lose their value as unique and diverse collections of WWII heritage if not protected, the Division of Historic Preservation warned.

To preserve the WWII sites, the Ships of Discovery and Exploration (SDE), a non profit maritime archaeology organization was awarded the American Battlefield Protection Program Grant, the division said in a statement.

The grant aims to support the identification and documentation of selected submerged remains associated with the Battle of Saipan such as wrecked ships, planes, tanks and landing craft.

It also aims to help create a sustainable public and commercial interest group including tour operators, dive clubs, dive shops and non-divers who appreciate local maritime heritage who will help in preserving the heritage.

The project was designed in conjunction with the assistance of the CNMI Historic Preservation Office (HPO) and is funded by the U.S. National Park Service.

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