War Relics come under close eye

Since the story of the Swamp Ghost a.k.a. B17-E Flying Fortress emerged, with its eventual departure from Papua New Guinea, a decision has been made that any salvage and export of war relics in future must be fulfilled under agreements vetted by the trustees and must be signed off by the Minister of Culture & Tourism.

This was among several recommendations made by the PNG Government in its new agreement for the sale of the most famous war relic, the Swamp Ghost.

The Minister for Culture and Tourism Charles Abel said the vetting & signing will be strictly on a case by case basis against a predetermined schedule of requirements, less what had already been retrieved.
Meanwhile a fibreglass replica of the Swamp Ghost will be erected in a new K1.5 million war museum in Port Moresby.

Mr Abel said the sale and departure of the Swamp Ghost had been done in accordance with relevant laws and National Executive Council decision resulting in a 'win-win' situation for the buyer Mr Hagen and PNG.

The landowner group from the Agiambo swamp area were given K300,000 which was deposited in a trust account.

According to the Memorandum of Agreement signed between the PNG Government and Mr Hagen's Aero Archeology  on December 10 2009,the firm must ensure, prior to taking the relic away that "it provides funds for the further improvement of PNG's National Museum and Art Gallery."

Mr Abel said the sale was in the best interest of the nation and there was nothing dubious about it.

"In the past, things were done illegally, even before Swamp Ghost, a lot of war relics were sold but we have changed that to ensure any requests for purchase of war relics be made through the Minister (Culture & Tourism) and the Board (of the National Museum and Art Gallery)," he added.



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