The wreck of RMS Titanic is to be protected under a treaty signed by Britain and America.
Both governments have passed legislation giving them the power to grant or refuse licences allowing people entering the hull sections.
The agreement also prevents the removal of artefacts from the wreck site.
The new accord strengthens the basic level of protection previously given by UNESCO.
UK Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani said:
“I was delighted to visit Belfast today to recognise this important treaty coming into effect.
“Lying two and a half miles below the ocean surface, the RMS Titanic is the subject of the most documented maritime tragedy in history.
“This momentous agreement with the United States to preserve the wreck means it will be treated with the sensitivity and respect owed to the final resting place of more than 1,500 lives.”
“The UK will now work closely with other North Atlantic States to bring even more protection to the wreck of the Titanic.”
British registered and built in Belfast, the RMS Titanic set sail on its maiden voyage from Southampton on April 10, 1912.
On April 15, 1912, after striking an iceberg, the ship broke apart and sank to the bottom of the ocean, taking with it the lives of more than 1,500 passengers and crew.
The Titanic disaster instigated the drawing up of SOLAS (Safety of Lives at Sea) Convention in 1914, which still sets the minimum safety standards by which ships are required to comply.
The wreck of the Titanic was discovered in September 1985 approximately 350 nautical miles off the Canadian coast of Newfoundland, two and a half miles below the ocean surface.
Multiple countries have been negotiating an international agreement to protect and preserve the wreck since 1986, with the ratification of the treaty by the UK and US marking a hugely significant step forward.
The UK will now take a leading role in working with other North Atlantic States, including Canada and France, and urge them to sign up to the agreement and bring even more protection to the wreck of the Titanic.