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Photo 51: Starboard railing.
(NOAA Photo Library.)
The "Agreement Concerning the Shipwrecked Vessel R.M.S. Titanic"(International Agreement) stems from the recommendation made by the United States Congress in the R.M.S. Titanic Maritime Memorial Act of 1986 (1986 Act) to address activities in and around R.M.S. Titanic and increase protection of the wreck site. The International Agreement’ objectives are to preserve the unique historical significance and symbolic value of the R.M.S. Titanic site and calls for keeping intact as a single collection any subsequently retrieved artifacts and the regulation of dives and visits to the site to avoid further damage to it. In particular, the R.M.S. Titanic legislation specifies that in situ preservation is the preferred mode of preserving the site.
For the International Agreement to take effect, at least two countries must ratify it. The United Kingdom ratified the Agreement on November 6, 2003, implementing it through Order 2003 No. 2496, which comes into force on the date on which the International Agreement enters into force in respect of the United Kingdom. The United States signed the Agreement on June 18, 2004, subject to acceptance following the enactment of implementing legislation.