The Spanish civil guard has seized a vessel belonging to Odyssey Marine soon after it left Gibraltar. As I’ve stated in earlier posts, Odyssey Marine found a 17th Century wreck somewhere in the Atlantic, which it says may be worth $500 million. The gold has already been shipped back to the United States. Both Odyssey Marine and authorities from Gibraltar say the ship was illegally seized because it was in international waters according to the BBC. However, as I’ve said before it isn’t at all clear where Spanish waters end and International waters begin, and the interested parties have of course not clearly laid out their maritime boundaries. I don’t consider myself an expert on admiralty law, so I’m not really sure who has the stronger claim to the treasure which was shipped back to the United States. I do know that the Federal case pending in Florida will be interesting to watch unfold. From the cultural policy perspective though, I haven’t seen any evidence that Odyssey is conducting serious archaeological study, though perhaps they are.
(Hat tip to David Nishimura at Cronaca)