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Odyssey Marine Exploration

March 17, 2012 by staff 

Odyssey Marine Exploration, Five years later and the treasure of the Nuestra Se?ora de las Mercedes is still making news. According to The Associated Press, a judge in Florida is considering whether to order undersea explorers to return the last of the treasure they salvaged from a 200-year-old Spanish shipwreck near the Strait of Gibraltar in 2007.

Last month, Spanish military cargo planes collected 17 tons of coins from the Nuestra Se?ora which had been held in Florida after a federal judge ordered the Tampa company Odyssey Marine Exploration to return it. International law generally holds that the contents of sovereign ships — such as the Spanish galleon which was sunk by the British navy in 1804 with 200 hands aboard — remains sovereign property.

According to the AP, Spanish authorities now want the remainder, including artifacts said to have been left behind by Odyssey in Gibraltar, including sailors’ personal effects, sailing equipment and at least 100 silver coins.

James Goold, a Washington lawyer retained by the government of Spain, argued today before US Magistrate Judge James Pizzo that Odyssey must hand over the last remaining bits and pay Spain’s legal costs, too.

He also accused Odyssey of concealing the true nature of what is left in a Gibraltar storage crate, according to the AP.

“Gibraltar has been used to hide critical evidence in this case,” was quoted as saying. “We need to figure out what’s what.”

However Melinda MacConnel, a lawyer for Odyssey, said her company had been unable to inventory the crate’s contents due in part to Spain’s legal action and also because people claiming to be descendents of the ship’s crew had brought a law suit in Gibraltar, where authorities have prevented the cargo’s movement.

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