To develop the exploration, investigation, and monitoring technology of underwater cultural heritage to comprehend the ancestors’ marine culture, President Chiu Yung-Fang of the National Academy of Marine Research and Director-General Shih Kuo-lung of the Bureau of Cultural Heritage, Ministry of Culture signed an MOU today (17th) regarding the collaboration of the study of underwater cultural assets. Deputy Minister Tsai, Ching-piao of the Ocean Affairs Council and Deputy Minister Hsiao Tsung-huang of the Ministry of Culture attended to witness the moment. It is expected that with the collaboration of the two departments, it can promote the capacity of the investigation and study of the underwater cultural assets.
Taiwan is located in a unique geographical location with a diverse history and culture. In the surrounding sea areas, there are many ancient sunken ships and remains of ancestors’ habitats. Nevertheless, due to the depth, water pressure, flow velocity, and visibility of the sea as well as discarded artifacts, it renders underwater investigation an incredibly difficult task. Due to the urgency of the task, it is very important for Taiwan to develop marine environment investigation and monitoring operations.
Deputy Minister Tsai, Ching-piao of the Ocean Affairs Council expressed that since the establishment of the Ocean Affairs Council, it has been active in promoting basic marine culture education. It is expected that with the collaboration of the private and public sectors and joining with private resources, it is possible to consolidate basic marine culture education. By cultivating the marine consciousness of the people, it will help Taiwan to become an excellent maritime nation. The parent act of marine affairs – The Ocean Basic Act was announced to promulgate on November 20, 2019. The act regards the deepening of the diverse marine culture and preservation of marine cultural assets as its basic principles. On June 4, 2020, the Legislative Yuan passed the “National Ocean Policy White Paper”, which includes “the cultivation and training of ocean education personnel” as one of its major policies. The National Academy of Marine Research was established on April 24, 2019, to conduct the planning of marine policy, investigation of marine resources, marine science study, development of marine industry, and cultivation of professional talents. Up to now, it has employed professional talents from different fields to conduct marine studies, becoming an important marine think tank. The Bureau of Cultural Heritage, Ministry of Culture achieved brilliantly in the aspects of the investigation and preservation of underwater cultural assets, and the promotion of marine culture. It is believed that with the collaboration of the two agencies, it will augment the human resources and resources. It will promote the standard of the investigation, monitoring technology, and research capacity of underwater cultural assets.
President Chiu Yung-Fang of the National Academy of Marine Research expressed that since the establishment of the National Academy of Marine Research, it has promoted the study of marine culture, history, and education, and conducted research on marine culture, for example, the study of the traditional marine knowledge and culture of the Amis tribe and the Tao tribe, and the traditional marine life and culture camps. In the future, it will continue to construct basic information regarding the cultural implications of Minnan, Hakka, and other ethnic groups. Underwater cultural assets is an important cornerstone for the re-presentation of ancestors’ marine culture. Its investigation, study, preservation, maintenance, and educational promotion are involved with interdisciplinary cooperation. The National Academy of Marine Research is consists of five centers. In the future, it will collaborate with the five centers to assist the Bureau of Cultural Heritage to conduct researches in marine and underwater cultural assets, law, and history with their areas of specialty. It will also conduct ecological studies with investigation and monitoring technology. Sharing the data of underwater cultural assets investigation, it is believed that it will open a new chapter on the preservation of underwater cultural assets of Taiwan.
Deputy Minister Hsiao Tsung-huang of the Ministry of Culture expressed that Taiwan, surrounded by the sea on all sides, is an important route for water transportation. There are positive meanings for Taiwan to engage in the preservation, monitoring, and management of underwater cultural assets, being a maritime country. It is believed that with the collaboration of the two agencies, a national team of underwater cultural assets will gradually be formed.
Finally, Director-General Shih Kuo-lung of the Bureau of Cultural Heritage, Ministry of Culture said there are three significant meanings regarding the signing of the MOU with the National Academy of Marine Research. Firstly, in the past, the Bureau of Cultural Heritage conducted researches on the sunken ships in shallow waters in the investigation of underwater cultural assets. In the future, with the marine science technology and detecting instruments of the National Academy of Marine Research, it is possible to conduct investigations in deep water zones. It can be regarded as the “underwater cultural assets 2.0.” Second, the Bureau of Cultural Heritage is collecting data (including investigation data of offshore power plants) to construct a data bank.The data should be analyzed with the help of professional talents from the National Academy of Marine Research for maximum results. Third, the underwater cultural assets listed in the record are investigated and inspected by related personnel irregularly. It is necessary to establish a monitoring system equipped with detecting instruments for efficient inspection.
Ocean affairs are diverse and expansive. On this occasion, the signing of MOU between the National Academy of Marine Research and Bureau of Cultural Heritage, Ministry of Culture is focusing on the promotion of marine monitoring technology, the construction of underwater cultural assets preservation system, and the integration of the capacities of marine studies in Taiwan. It is expected that with the collaboration of the two agencies, it will help consolidate the implications of marine culture, deepen marine science studies, promote the concern and care of marine society and humanities of people from different sectors to construct the conscious of knowing the sea, intimate to the sea, and love the sea, demonstrating Taiwan’s national spirit.