Six Greeks and two German were arrested in the last two days for illegally fishing antiquities in the Greek waters.
The Greeks aged 34-50 were arrested in Gytheio in south-east Mani in Peloponnese on Monday afternoon. The men were diving to a roman shipwreck in Limani area. They were arrested ashore with the antiquities they had retrieved packed in their cars. Authorities seized the findings and the diving equipment.
On Tuesday, a German couple was arrested in area of Chironissi, Kolimbari of Chania in western Crete. They had sailed the area with a yacht pretending to be tourists.
An anonymous informant had briefed the Coast Guard about ‘suspicious activities’ of the yacht “Contenius Eagle.”
In a yacht search conducted by the Coast Guard 16 objects from the Roman and Byzantine period.
The Germans, a man and a woman aged over 60, had used professional diving equipment that allowed them to dive into depth of 50 meters. They had sailed in areas of archaeological interest, media report. The ‘fished’ antiquities -fragments of amphorae and ancient ceramics – were transferred to the Archaeological Museum of Chania. Archaeologists are expected to estimate the origins and the age of the findings.
All the arrested face charges on illegal antiquities trade and for violating laws of the protection of cultural heritage.
Speaking to media, coast guard courses said that in similar cases, foreign divers usually locate the sea areas with archaeological interest following the advice and the guidance of locals.
The phenomenon of ‘fishing’ antiquities is not new. And it is not going to disappear as such ‘diving missions’ are usually conducted on assignment and the finders sell their findings immediately in the black market.