Who Owns Underwater Cultural Heritage in the South China Sea

Yingying Jing*, Juan Li

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Web of Science)


The South China Sea has attained global attention because of terraria disputes over oil, gas, fisheries and other resources in the sea area. Compared with the valuable natural resources, the underwater cultural heritage is not recognized or considered, but is an important legacy of many losses of vessels over centuries. Recently, the surrounding states in the South China Sea have taken measures to preserve underwater cultural heritage in their sea waters. However, the current complicated situation of the South China Sea intensifies the difficulties of protection of underwater cultural heritagein that area. There is an important and interesting potential issue of identification of ownership of underwater cultural heritage because of differences of legislation and claims to jurisdiction. Under the current information of legislation of some states in the South China Sea, it can be understood this issue cannot be avoid on the protection of underwater cultural heritage. This article discusses potential disputes over ownership of underwater cultural heritage in the South China Sea based on the different legislation of several states (China, Vietnam and Philippines) and proposes some possible suggestions for resolving the issue of ownership, rather than performing a primary research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-126
Number of pages20
JournalCoastal Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2019


  • Ownership
  • South China Sea
  • underwater cultural heritage

Cite this