Since 1986, Uruguay has granted permits for search and salvage operations along its coastal waterways. Each permit is allotted to a specific area and as of December, 1998, ten survey permits had been issued for various geographic zones. In Uruguay, the permit process is a two-step system. While a "search permit" allows a group to effectively look for and dive on shipwrecks in an area, the "salvage permit" allows the actual recovery of artifacts from a specific shipwreck.

Although many areas of the South American coast will yield ancient shipwrecks of spectacular attraction, the most treasured area, without a doubt, is the Banco Inglés.
Alfredo Etchegaray, a Montevideo businessman, and a partner in the English Banks Project, has obtained the exclusive search permit from the government of Uruguay, for 1,200 square miles of the most prolific shipwreck waters in the world. The English Banks
Spanish silver coin dated 1809
Alfredo Etchegaray looking at artifacts recovered from a wreck in the River Plate
Over the next several years our search will uncover four hundred years of naval wreckage and result in the discovery of hundreds of shipwrecks from the sixteenth century to the contemporary. Artifacts and treasure will include jewels, gold and silver coins, cannons, precious metal ingots, muskets, swords, ship's tackle and apparel, cargo, crystalware, china, and much, much more.
Spanish silver coin from the wreck of the Salvador