In an interview that took place recently, Iván Negueruela, the retired director of the Museum of Underwater Archeology of Cartagena reported that the oldest ship, Mazarron II, preserved could vanish as a result of a hurricane or DANA – a cold spell. The ship was kept protected on the seabed in the Mazarron bay from the 7th century.
Iván Negueruela mentioned that in 2016, plans were being made to bring the vessel to the surface for purposes of exhibition. A lot of studies were conducted since then to come up with the most suitable option to preserve it while making it available for public viewing.
The decision was eventually made to leave it on the seabed and encase it with a durable metal cover. Even though investigations are conducted frequently, Negueruela informed that the ship now sits at the bottom of the sea, surrounded by the walls of the box but there are no lids.
In 2000, when Mazarron II box was opened to take out the objects in still contained, it needed an extraction in entirety. However, the ministry provided 500,000 pesetas, so the team left the work pending for better times.
In 2008, the box was opened again but not properly closed as the expedition was over.
The plates that provided protection were left without the padlocks that could prevent them from moving in adverse weather conditions like a storm. The government representatives of the Region of Murcia did not visit for quarterly inspections to see if everything was going fine. So far, 80 sandbags have been broken.
The museum director who retired last year recollected the moment the wreck was discovered. He says that from bow to stern, it was complete and sealed by a blanket of dead seaweed. It was made appropriate for archaeologists and resembled the tomb of Tutankhamen that Howard Carter had found in a sealed state.
He had earlier written to the then minister, Jose Guirao, who made immediate moves to prevent the Mazarron II from being lifted and sawn in pieces. Negueruela currently wants to experience efforts made to see that the wreck does not deteriorate further. In a 2019 project, a request for proposal was made to dismantle the structure but no companies bid to take the project.