Saturday, October 24, 2020

Divers pay hefty fines for looting Scapa Flow shipwrecks


Word to the wise: Don’t try making off with pieces from sunken warships in a historical underwater site. It’ll cost you a good chunk of change.

A British and American diver recently were each fined £18,000/US$22,529/21,488 Euros for having taken historical artifacts from scuttled World War I German warships off Scapa Flow, Scotland.

Sixty-seven-year-old Gordon Meek from Glasgow and 48-year-old Robert Infante from New Jersey, USA were allegedly seen by divers in another dive charter boat lifting a bag of rusty stuff into their charter boat four years ago. The witnesses contacted the authorities and Meek and Infante were met by police when they docked. On them, the two divers had a bulkhead lantern, a ship’s telephone, a steam pressure gauge and other items. When they appeared in court, both men pled guilty.

The convictions are the first time such sentences were handed down under the 1979 “Ancient Monuments & Archaeological Areas Act.”

Kirkwall Sheriff Andrew Berry told DiverNet:

“If nothing else, I hope the fines I am imposing will convince other divers that to break the law in this way might be an expensive exercise.”

Check out the full story at

A ship's telephone from the Scapa Flow was one of the items looted from the ship. (Photo credit: Historic Environment Scotland)
A ship’s telephone from the Scapa Flow was one of the items looted from the ship. (Photo credit: Historic Environment Scotland)

John Liang
John Liang
John Liang is the News Editor at He first got the diving bug while in High School in Cairo, Egypt, where he earned his PADI Open Water Diver certification in the Red Sea off the Sinai Peninsula. Since then, John has dived in a volcanic lake in Guatemala, among white-tipped sharks off the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, and other places including a pool in Las Vegas helping to break the world record for the largest underwater press conference.


  1. As an old long time diver I see a few thimgs on deeperblue that are not fully reported. The item on items from Scapa Flow wrecks had a bell mentioned. Does anyone know which wreck this came from ? Did the bell have a name on it ? Why you may ask ? Well Since 1985 I was been collecting post cards of Australian shipwrecks. Then I produced them as a catalogue in 2007. Having a digital camera in 2000 and knowing where a few shipwreck bells were I took photos of them and made them into post cards. Now I have over 105 shipwreck bell post cards that some are from overseas. Still seeking photos of more shipwreck bells. !!! yours, JS [email protected]

    • Hi John – the original story was from Divernet and to quote from that article:

      “The artefacts were said to have been taken from the wrecks of the battleships SMS König, Kronprinz Wilhelm and MarkGraf, and the cruisers SMS Brummer, Cöln, Dresden and Karlsruhe, between 8 and 12 October, 2012.”


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