THE SHIPWRECK of the Titanic will get new protections under an historic agreement struck by Britain and the United States.
The two governments will now be able to grant or veto applications for people to visit the world’s most famous sunken ship.
Ministers said the deal will help preserve the site and respect the 1,500 people who lost their lives when it sank.
It is the first time the shipwreck, which lies in international waters 350 nautical miles off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada, has been given such protection.
Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani said: “I was delighted to visit Belfast today to recognise this important treaty coming into effect.”
“Lying two and a half miles below the ocean surface, the RMS Titanic is the subject of the most documented maritime tragedy in history.”
“This momentous agreement with the United States to preserve the wreck means it will be treated with the sensitivity and respect owed to the final resting place of more than 1,500 lives.”
“The UK will now work closely with other North Atlantic States to bring even more protection to the wreck of the Titanic.”
The UK signed the treaty in 2003, but it has only come into force following its ratification by US secretary of state Mike Pompeo in November last year.
The Titanic was built in Belfast and set off on its maiden voyage from Southampton on April 10, 1912.
Five days later it struck an iceberg, broke apart and sank to the bottom of the North Atlantic.
Dozens of expeditions to the wreck have been carried out since it was discovered in 1985.
Experts claim many artefacts have been removed and the ship has suffered serious damage from mini-submarines landing on its surface.