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The “Palau Lagoon Monument” is a World War II era Corsair fighter aircraft that was used by the United States. One such aircraft was located in the Palau Lagoon and “is considered as an object of significance for the inspiration and benefit of the people of the Republic of Palau.
President Johnson Toribiong issued a Proclamation No. 12-64 on March 27, 2012 declaring a moratorium on “diving within 100 feet of the aforesaid aircraft or of the site where the aircraft is located.” The moratorium was effective immediately and is to remain in effect until further notice.
The administration, protection and development of the monument is at the complete direction of President Toribiong, who has determined that “there exists a present threat to the aircraft and to the site where the aircraft is located from looters and souvenir hunters who might damage the aircraft before any type of research or inventory has been conducted by appropriate authorities.”
According to the Presidential Proclamation, anyone seeking to dive to the Palau Lagoon Monument or to the site where it is located must first obtain a permit from the Office of the President and must also comply with any prescribed conditions.
The penalty for “any person who, without the permission of the President, dives with 100 feet of the aircraft or of the site where the aircraft is located or who removes, appropriates, damages or destroys the or any or all parts thereof” will be arrested and will face up to a $1000 fine, up to six months imprisonment or both.
In his Proclamation, the President readily states that “I have not issued any permits to dive to this aircraft or to the site where it is located nor do I intend to do so until such time that the aircraft and the site have been thoroughly researched and documented.”