Want to learn more about the Spanish shipwreck of gold coins? Read on for facts and info on the Spanish gold coin shipwreck discovered by Odyssey in the Straits of Gibraltar…
The discovery of a shipwreck containing more than 500 million colonial-era gold and silver coins was made by Odyssey Marine Exploration in 2007. This Tampa based marine exploration firm managed to come across this massive sunken treasure in the Straits of Gibraltar. The exact location of the sunken ship was about 100 miles to the west of the Straits. However, soon after the discovery of the sunken ship, Spain laid claim to the riches that Odyssey had discovered.
The total coin collection salvaged from the sunken ship weighed in at over 17 tons of solid gold and silver coins. The estimated value of the coins is over $500 million. According to the Spanish authorities the ship that had just been discovered was, in fact, a Spanish warship by the name of Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes. This ship was destroyed during a battle with the British naval forces in 1804. On discovery, the Spanish filed a legal claim to the ownership of the ship saying that it should be returned to the country.
The legal battle went through a series of twists and turns for nearly 2 years after which some progress has been made. According to Mark Pizzo who serves as the US Federal Court magistrate Judge, the court did not possess the jurisdiction to resolve the case. The fact is that the site at which the treasure was discovered was actually the place where Mercedes was made to sink. This is what makes the whole case subject to sovereign immunity. He went on to say that the debris, the location, the cannons, the artifacts and the coins themselves are very close in description to those mentioned in the historical records about the Mercedes. Keeping this in mind he advised that the entire ship be turned over to Spain within a matter of 10 days.
On the flipside the CEO of Odyssey expressed his shock at the verdict. He argued that the marine exploration team had done everything according to the specific rules and regulations that govern such exploration. According to him it was wrong for the court to suggest that the evidence supplied by the Spanish was more than enough for them to give a verdict in their favor. He further argued that the verdict that Odyssey did not have any legal interest in the shipwreck and highlighted why it was also unfair.
Even though two years have passed the conflict has not reached a conclusion. The CEO of Odyssey however remains confident that if the facts of the situation are analyzed in the light of the law the verdict will be in their favor and the flaws in the claim made by Spain would be exposed.