State terminates agreement with RIMAP, changes coming in search for Captain Cook’s Endeavour

The search is on for the Endeavour in Newport Harbor. (Photo of HM Bark Endeavour Replica at the Australian Maritime Museum in Sydney, Australia)

Following a meeting back in May where members of the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission (RIHPHC) voted to approve consultation with the R.I. Attorney General’s Office to update or otherwise modify or terminate the 1999 memorandum agreement between RIHPHC and the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project (RIMAP) regarding the search for HMS Endeavour, RIHPHC has notificed RIMAP with notice of termination of the 1999 Memorandum of Agreement, effective on approximately June 7th.

The decision to terminate the MOA comes after the RIHPHC consulted with the Attorney General’s Office, the MOA is being terminated for several reasons, as identified below in the letter that was sent to RIMAP by certified mail last week.

RIMAP-MOA-termination-Notice-Final-copy-5.29.2019

While the termination of the MOA will allow other companies interested to now apply for or receive state archaeological permits to investigate Endeavour specifically or the transport fleet in general on a project-by-project basis, it was also allow RIMAP to apply once again, as long as the application for the project satisfies all permit application requirements.

In April, RIMAP announced that it would be opening an artifact management facility at the Herreshoff Museum in Bristol. The document states that the Commission expects RIMAP to “deliver in good condition all artifiacts recovered from RIMAP”s investigations of Endeavour or the transport Fleet to date related to the 1999 MOA” within 90 days of the effective termination date of the MOA.

This story is developing and What’sUpNewp will provide further reaction soon.

Kathy Abbass, Executive Director of RIMAP, told What’sUpNewp on Monday that she has no comment until the legal process is completed.

Original Story (May 10th at 12:27 pm)

There could be changes coming soon in the search for Captain Cook’s Lord Sandwich/Endeavour off the coast of Newport, or at least to who is permitted to do the work to look for it.

Members of the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission (RIHPHC) voted on Wednesday to approve consultation with the R.I. Attorney General’s Office to update or otherwise modify or terminate the 1999 memorandum agreement between RIHPHC and the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project regarding HMS Endeavour.

The vote was unanimous with one member of the commission abstaining.

Several members of the group spoke during the meeting to the exclusivity of the original agreement and argued whether any group should have exclusive rights to any state property.

Audio From The Conversation


Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission

Since 1999, the United States District Court of Rhode Island wrote the following memorandum where RIHPHC and RIMAP agreed that RIMAP would be the exclusive archaeological investigator of RI 2125 (Endeavour) and the Newport Transport Fleet until “at such time the State determines that this is no longer in its interest, or unless and until a court of competent jurisdiction determines ownership to be with another , such as the Government of Great Britain; the the case, for instance of ownership being with the Government of Great Britain, the United States Navy would take precedence over the State in the management and protection of the said shipwreck (s)”

1999 Memorandum Agreement

1999-Fed-Court-Order-RI-Permit

With the 250th Anniversary of Cook’s voyage to Australia approaching in spring 2020, there’s interest from around the world to solidify where the ship sits at the bottom of Newport Harbor as soon as possible.

Now that the board has voted to move forward with the consultation, J. Paul Loether, executive director of the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission, will work with the Assistant Attorney General of Rhode Island to “get to a better agreement (between RIMAP and RIHPHC) or to terminate the agreement”.

Changes to the agreement, whether an update or termination of it, would allow other companies and organizations interested in the search for the Endeavour to apply with the RIHPHC to participate in the work and search.

On April 28th, RIMAP announced 2019 Endeavour Study Plans and that they would be creating an artifact management facility at Herreshoff Marine Museum. With RIMAP possibly without a future agreement, those recently announced plans could suddenly be null and void.

Loether expects to meet with the Assistant Attorney General of Rhode Island next week to discuss and update or terminate the agreement between RIHPHC and RIMAP.

A request for comment from RIMAP was not immediately responded to on Friday.

More On The Search For Endeavour

- Advertisement -