After three years of supporting the commercial contract between Odyssey Marine Exploration and the Maritime Heritage Foundation, a charity chaired by controversial senior Conservative Peer Lord Lingfield, to work on the wreck site of HMS Victory 1744, the UK Secretary of State for Defence, Michael Fallon MP has rescinded the permission granted to recover “at risk” artifacts from the site which was granted in October 2014.
The news came in a letter from the Treasury Solicitor which undertakes legal work for the UK Government. The letter, which was sent to Mr Robert Yorke, the Chair of the Joint Nautical Archaeology Policy Committee, who acting in a personal capacity, had been threatening to take the Ministry of Defence to Judicial Review, states
“The Secretary of State [for Defence] has written to Lord Lingfield withdrawing the approval he gave earlier to proceed with the current phase of the HMS Victory project design. He will now retake this decision.”
Mr Yorke added.
“The Judicial Review will now be dropped. I have no further details at this stage but it would appear that there will be no work on HMS Victory in the short term until a new decision has been taken.”
thePipeLine is currently seeking comment from the Ministry of Defence, Odyssey Marine Exploration and Lord Lingfield, Chair of the Maritime Heritage Foundation.
This news story will be updated as more information reaches us.