HMS Fowey, Biscayne National Park from NPS Submerged Resources Center on Vimeo.

The remains of a 250-year-old British ship that fought France and Spain and was later at the heart of a modern maritime salvage law case is now being preserved under an international agreement between the United States and England.

Last month, the two countries entered into a memorandum of understanding on the HMS Fowey, a fifth-rate frigate that sank near what is now Miami after crashing into a coral reef in 1748.

“This is the latest step in the continuing preservation effort for Fowey, and solidifies our relationship with the British people in protecting our shared heritage for the enjoyment and education of future generations,” said Brian Carlstrom, superintendent of Biscayne National Park, where the Fowey wreckage is located underwater.

According to National Park Service officials, the agreement recognizes British title to the wreck and the intention of the U.S. park service to continue to care for the site in accordance with the Sunken Military Craft Act of 2004 and the UNESCO convention on Underwater Cultural Heritage. The National Park Service and the British Navy will work together on caring for the site under the agreement.

Launched in 1744, HMS Fowey worked Europe around the English Channel and Gibraltar, battling French ships before it was reassigned to the Caribbean and waters off the New World’s east coast. It captured the Spanish ship St. Juan y Tadicos in June 1748 and was escorting the vessel and British merchant ships to Virginia when one of the merchant ships collided with the reef. In coming to the ship’s aid, the Fowey also got stuck on the reef.

The crew climbed aboard the surviving vessels and headed for Charleston, and the Spaniards were then sent to Havana.

And then nothing happened for some two centuries. Everyone forgot where the Fowey sank, the United States acquired Florida from Spain, and the state of Florida gave the area around the wreck to the federal government to turn it into a park.

Then in 1978, Gerald Klein found the what was left of the Fowey while diving with friends (it wasn’t identified as the Fowey until years later). He applied for salvage title in Admiralty Court in 1979, but the U.S. government stepped in to challenge Klein’s claim. The court sided with the government, finding that the wreckage was historically significant and embedded in the land, which was a national park.

“It is without question that Congress had the power to exercise dominion and control over the wreck, and the statutory evidence is overwhelming that it had the intent. It is clear that the United States was in constructive possession of the wreck at the time the plaintiff discovered it embedded in public land,” the ruling states.

Today, the site is closed to the public. The ship does have a Facebook page, and the park has a website .

Above is a video tour of what’s left of the Fowey, produced by the National Park Service’s Submerged Resources Center.

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