Thursday 4 June 2009

Court says Odyssey must return Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes Treasure to Spain.

Apparently: "A United States judge has ruled that the treasure found by the Odyssey salvage team be returned to Spain. The decision is a judicial victory for the Spanish Government in a case which has gone on for more than two years, although the company has said it is to appeal. Judge Mark Pizzo, in the court in Tampa, Florida, considered that the cargo and treasure carried on the Spanish ship ‘Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes’, did not come under his jurisdiction, and therefore the items, with an estimated value of more than 500 million dollars, should be returned to Spain".
(h.b.'Tampa court says Odyssey should return treasure to Spain', Typically Spanish Jun 4, 2009)

More here, no doubt we will be hearing more soon, and especially as the appeal gets underway. Still, if this is true, it gives out the right message, and I expect the value of the stocks of the treasure hunting company are slumping, I'll not be buying any. Maybe US coin collectors might like to set up a fund to help the firm recover the costs of getting the artefacts out of this otherwise unthreatened archaeological site (and grave site) which they no longer will be able to sell.

Now it seems a good time to return to an unanswered question. How is it possible that seventeen tonnes of valuable artefacts belonging to Spain were flown from British-held Gibraltar to Florida in 2007? Why when landed in Gibraltar was this shipment not challenged by the British authorities?

Addendum 5/6/09: See now the Times Online article

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