Bill Rosenblum forwarded this article about the disputed coin hoard salvaged by Odyssey Marine.
A U.S. district judge has ruled that U.S. treasure-hunting company Odyssey Marine Exploration should return to Spain a fortune in old coins recovered from the wreck of a 19th-century Spanish warship.
In an order filed in Tampa, Florida Tuesday, Judge Steven Merryday nevertheless directed that the return of the treasure to Spain be stayed until an appeals process in the case was concluded. It was the latest twist in a complex dispute over the treasure involving Spain, Odyssey and Peru.
Merryday's order backed a recommendation by a U.S. magistrate judge in June that Odyssey should hand over to the Spanish government nearly 600,000 silver and gold coins valued at some $500 million that it recovered from the wreck of the 19th-century Spanish warship Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes.
Spain said the Spanish naval frigate was carrying treasure back from Peru when it was sunk by British gunboats in 1804.
Odyssey Marine, which has disputed the treasure came from the Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes, discovered wreckage and the 17-ton haul of artifacts in March 2007 in international waters about 100 miles west of the Straits of Gibraltar, which separate Spain from North Africa.
"The ineffable truth of this case is that the Mercedes is a naval vessel of Spain and that the wreck of this naval vessel, the vessel's cargo, and any human remains are the natural and legal patrimony of Spain," Merryday said in his order.
Odyssey, which specializes in the recovery of sunken treasure and had codenamed this particular project "Black Swan," says the coin haul legally belongs to the company.
To read the complete article, see:
$500 Million in Sunken Treasure Returning to Spain
The above article links to a nice slide show of images of the recovery operation.
An image from another web site illustrates the magnitude of Odyssey's haul.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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