The remains of the Titanic, under water for almost a century, are to fall under United Nations protection.
UNESCO, the U.N. cultural and scientific agency, says the wreck of the famed ship will fall under a 2001 convention on protecting underwater cultural heritage on the 100th anniversary of its sinking.
The convention only applies to remains submerged for more than 100 years. The Titanic sank April 15, 1912 in international waters in the North Atlantic.
Paris-based UNESCO said in a statement that the convention means signatory governments can seize artifacts stolen from the Titanic or prevent exploration "deemed unscientific or unethical."
In the statement, UNESCO director Irina Bokova expressed concern about the destruction and looting of shipwrecks and underwater archaeological sites.