TAMPA (CN) – Odyssey Marine Exploration has sued one or two colonial-era wrecks somewhere off the coast of England, seeking possession and the right to salvage the ships. A Spanish warship threatened to blow an Odyssey vessel out of the water in October last year, though the crew was not carrying what is believed to be an immense trove of gold bars they had recovered off the coast of Spain.
These lawsuits in Federal Court apparently were filed to lay claim to the wrecks and to forestall another such incident.
The Tampa-based treasure hunters filed two claims against “The Unidentified, Wrecked And (For Finders-Right Purposes) Abandoned Sailing Vessel.” It is unclear why Odyssey filed two claims.
The ship, or both ships, are said to lie less than 200 meters deep, between 25 and 40 miles off the coast of the United Kingdom. One claim states that Odyssey will present a brick from the wreck; in the other claim it will present a piece of glass.
The first complaint describes the ship as “a cannon wreck of the Colonial period”.
In both cases, Odyssey says it will carry out the salvage operation under the direction of marine archaeologists. (The company has been criticized for destroying valuable historical and archaeological records by de facto looting.)
Odyssey claims it found Wreck 1 in the spring this year, with sonar and magnetometer equipment, and that it surveyed the site with “limited video and photographic images using a surface-controlled remotely operated vehicle.” It says the value of the wreck, or wrecks, cannot be estimated yet.
Odyssey’s lead counsel is Allen von Spiegelfeld with Fowler White Boggs Banker.