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Rewriting History: Albanian Coastal Exploration

July of 2007 began the first large-scale coastal survey of Albania. The R/V Hercules began the survey at Albania’s southern border with Greece with the goal of completing the entire coast over several successive seasons. During four successive seasons a number of discoveries were made, including the remains of the Bow of HMS Volage, a British destroyer that struck a mine off the Albanian port of Sarande on October 22, 1946. The incident brought Communist Albania and Great Britain into diplomatic conflict and it was the first major issue to be debated by the Great Powers at the Security Council after the WWII.

HMS Volage struck a mine on October 22, 1946 while assisting another British destroyer, HMS Saumarez, which had itself struck a mine. While neither ship sank, 44 lives were lost and another 42 British seamen were injured. This tragic episode was one of the first naval incidents of the Cold War.

A lengthy legal argument before the International Court of Justice at The Hague ultimately led to a ruling in favor of Britain. Albania disputed the findings, and the two nations severed diplomatic relations for nearly 50 years.

The investigation of the site by Dr. Delgado was conducted via three cameras attached to the ROV. Visibility was poor due to suspended sediment and low light degraded the imagery, but the team made a number of provisional identifications of many of the principal features.

The wreckage is that of a section of an explosion-damaged steel vessel and lies in proximity to the Albanian shore near the port of Sarande clearly inside the Albanian territorial waters. This discovery has now raised many questions and has put to the test the Verdict of the International Court of Hague. Was Great Britain not telling the truth to the International Court of Hague? Was the British squadron on an innocent passage at it claimed or it was part of a military operations?

Join Auron Tare as he takes us through archival material and rare footage of this unsolved mystery which is one of the great cases where underwater archaeology is helping to rewrite history.

Auron Tare is one of the founders of Butrint National Park, a World Heritage Site of UNESCO and the First Director of the World Heritage Site of Butrint.

He has worked for many years in mobilizing interest and support among many international organizations and institutions like UNESCO, World Bank, RAMSAR Convention, Butrint Foundation, Oak Foundation, Mifflin Trust, National Geographic. USAID, SIDA, World Mate, Italian Trust for Culture to protect and preserve this unique historical site. His efforts were rewarded in 2000 when the Albanian Government along with UNESCO declared the park a protected World Heritage Site. For six years he managed every aspect of the site and transformed the park from an almost abandoned place to one of the most important cultural centers in Albania.

At present he is the Executive Director of The Albanian Center of Marine Research which is an ongoing underwater archaeology research in Albania. This Project is funded and supported by RPM Nautical Foundation 501© and Institute of Nautical Archaeology.

During the mid 1990’s he worked as part of Channel Four British TV team in covering the wars and civil unrests in the Balkans mainly Albania, Kosova and Macedonia.

Auron currently has a weekly newspaper and magazine column on cultural heritage and historical issues as well as having his own TV Program on Albania.

Date: 1/3/2011

Time: 6PM

Location: New York City Headquarters

Member Ticket Price: No Charge

Guest Ticket Price: $20

Student Ticket Price:

$5 w/ ID

Reservation Notes:

Payment must accompany reservation. Tickets are secured only when a credit card is provided at the time the reservation is made. Reservations made without a credit card are not secured and tickets will be forfeited by 6:50pm the evening of the lecture.

Reservations are suggested on a first-come, first-served basis. Please call 212-628-8383, Fax 212-228-4449, or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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Background image photography courtesy of members Christoph Baumer, Neil Laughton, Matt Harris and Don Walsh's image of the Bathyscape Trieste