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Archaeology & Anthropology => Underwater Archaeology => Topic started by: Bianca on January 11, 2008, 09:50:27 pm



Title: 'ODYSSEY MARINE', Shipwreck Finders - UPDATES
Post by: Bianca on January 11, 2008, 09:50:27 pm
(http://img.timeinc.net/time/daily/2008/0801/marine_odyssey_0111.jpg)

Marine Odyssey's Remotely Operated Vehicle being
recovered from the seabed after recovering coins
from a Colonial period shipwreck, Black Swan






                                                  Spain Wins Ruling Over Sunken Ship





Friday, Jan. 11, 2008
By LISA ABEND AND GEOFF PINGREE/
MADRID 

It has all the makings of a suspenseful swashbuckler: a mysterious ship, sunken treasure, the threat of midnight raids and the pillaging of priceless cultural artifacts. But the ongoing struggle between American shipwreck salvage company Odyssey Marine and the Spanish government has instead become a classic courtroom drama. On Thursday, a U.S. District court in Tampa, Floridam ruled that Odyssey Marine must reveal to Spain all the information it possesses that could help identify three historic shipwrecks, including the one Odyssey has code-named, with appropriate flourish, the Black Swan. The sunken ship, which Madrid suspects was Spanish, has been sharply disputed since April, when Odyssey filed claim to the wreckage and then hauled up — and moved to an undisclosed storage facility near its Tampa headquarters — 17 tons of silver coins and other treasure, which some experts have valued at $500 million.

In the months since, the salvage firm has offered few clues about the Black Swan's identity or exact location, admitting only that preliminary investigations suggest the ship dates from the 19th century, and that the wreck lies 100 miles west of the Straits of Gibraltar, some 1100 meters down in international waters. "We have already made it clear that there are valuable artifacts at these different sites," says Odyssey CEO Greg Stemm, "so it is absurd to expect us to release any information that could give clues that might lead to an illegal midnight raid to steal the remaining artifacts. It's only common sense to do everything possible to protect the sites."

Odyssey's secrecy has fueled the suspicions of Spain's government, however, which fears that a valuable piece of its cultural patrimony has been exploited by a for-profit company. In July and again in October 2007, the Spanish civil guard and navy, following local court orders, detained and searched Odyssey ships as they attempted to leave their docks in Gibraltar. The detentions sparked intense media scrutiny, with much of the Spanish press expressing outrage over Odyssey's "pillaging" and some international publications decrying what they consider Spain's strong-arm tactics. Since then, Spain's Ministry of Culture has taken steps to better protect the dozens of shipwreck sites that lie off its coast as relics of Spain's golden age in the 16th and 17th centuries, when its galleons ruled the seas.

The Tampa court decided that Odyssey has 14 days to turn over all data regarding the Black Swan's identity and location and must permit Spain to inspect the artifacts it has recovered. That ruling levels the playing field before a civil trial in Tampa again next October, which will decide who owns the Black Swan site, and what percentage of the recovered treasure belongs to the salvagers. Although Odyssey's earlier court petition sought to restrict what information it released and to whom, the company says it got what it wanted from Thursday's ruling. "We are pleased that a confidentiality agreement will now be in place so that we can share information with Spain about the sites — it's all we have been asking for," says Stemm. "Hopefully, Spanish authorities will no longer believe the false and misleading information that has made its way into the press, and they will see the archaeological care we have taken on these sites as well as the difficulty in confirming their identities."

Spain, however, considers the ruling an unequivocal victory. "We're very pleased the court ruled in our favor," says James Goold, the attorney representing the Spanish government. "It shows that the court recognizes the need to move quickly to establish the identity of the ship." Perhaps more important, in his view, it also bodes well for the trial to come. "With this decision, we see that the court respects the cultural patrimony of a country like Spain."


Title: Re: Spain Wins Ruling Over Sunken Ship
Post by: Bianca on January 11, 2008, 09:59:05 pm






QUOTE:


"..........the cultural patrimony of a country like Spain." 



Yea, right!

These ships were loaded with gold and silver plundered from the NATIVE peoples of the Americas!!!

Statements like that make me 'see red'.......

D I S G U S T I N G ! ! !


Title: Re: Spain Wins Ruling Over Sunken Ship
Post by: Golethia Pennington on January 28, 2008, 08:46:39 pm
I couldn't agree more, Bianca.  Only people who have no respect for the property rights of Native Americans could possibly side with the Spanish on this.  Apparently, the full extent of the thievery of the Spanish isn't appreciated, even today.


Title: Re: Spain Wins Ruling Over Sunken Ship
Post by: Bianca on January 28, 2008, 09:04:49 pm






Not to mention the INTENTIONAL decimating of the native people!!!

At least in the Americas they weren't completely successful, Golethia.



I have dealt with the Canary Islands a lot, since I have been on this Forum. 

They were successful THERE. 


A WHOLE RACE OF PEOPLE TOTALLY EXTERMINATED.


Sometimes, I have just sat here totally numb at that horror, even to the point that
I could not even cry for them......


Title: Re: Spain Wins Ruling Over Sunken Ship - UPDATE
Post by: Bianca on August 20, 2008, 03:32:58 pm









                     Odyssey Marine Exploration Welcomes Peru's Filing In "Black Swan" Case






 
TAMPA, Fla.,
 Aug 20, 2008
(BUSINESS WIRE) --

Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. (OMEX:odyssey marine exploration i com)

The world leader in the field of deep-ocean shipwreck exploration, announced today that the Republic of Peru filed a motion in federal court in one of the company's pending admiralty cases. As anticipated after numerous statements in the media, Peru formally filed a Verified Conditional Claim in the "Black Swan" admiralty case, which was originally filed by Odyssey Marine Exploration. The case is currently pending before the U.S. District Court in Tampa, Florida.

"Odyssey's position is to encourage every appropriate claimant to present its potential claims in a case like this, so we welcome Peru's filing, even as the Company reserves its legal position. If the court does not find that the property was abandoned, we believe that the property in the "Black Swan" case would be handled under the traditional law of salvage," said Greg Stemm, Odyssey Chief Executive Officer.

The nature of a salvage award is that the award to the salvor is not dependent upon the number of claimants. Claimants other than the salvor must either enter into an agreement amongst themselves to split the owner's percentage of a find or submit their individual claims to the court for adjudication. For instance, in the case of the Central America, an award of 92% of the cargo was made to the salvor, and the remaining 8% was held in trust while various insurance companies were given the opportunity to present their respective claims.

"We believe that Peru's filing raises a significant and timely question relating to whether a former colonial power or the colonized indigenous peoples should receive the cultural and financial benefit of underwater cultural heritage derived from the previously colonized nations. Odyssey would be pleased to involve Peru in the study and archaeological investigation of any property that is found to have originated in Peru, without regard for whether Peru has any legal rights to the property.

We would also be pleased to extend the same courtesy to any other sovereign government, indigenous people, relatives or descendants who might have a legitimate claim or interest in property discovered on any of Odyssey's shipwrecks," Mr. Stemm added.


Title: Re: Spain Wins Ruling Over Sunken Ship - UPDATE
Post by: Bianca on August 20, 2008, 03:38:11 pm









About Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc.

Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc.
(OMEX:odyssey marine exploration i com


OMEX 4.91, +0.08, +1.7%) uses innovative methods and state-of-the-art technology to conduct extensive deep-ocean search and archaeological recovery operations around the world.

Odyssey discovered the Civil War era shipwreck of the SS Republic(R) in 2003 and recovered over 50,000 coins and 14,000 artifacts from the site nearly 1,700 feet deep.

In May 2007, we announced the historic deep-ocean treasure recovery of over 500,000 silver and gold coins, weighing 17 tons, from a Colonial era site code-named "Black Swan." Odyssey has several shipwreck projects in various stages of development around the world.

Odyssey offers various ways to share in the excitement of deep-ocean exploration by making shipwreck treasures and artifacts available to collectors, the general public and students through its webstore, exhibits, books, television, merchandise, and educational programs.

JWM Productions is currently filming Odyssey expeditions for an 11-part primetime series for Discovery Channel, which is scheduled to air worldwide in 2009.

Odyssey's "SHIPWRECK! Pirates & Treasure" exhibit is currently on display at the Detroit Science Center, after being showcased in Tampa at the Museum of Science & Industry and in New Orleans.






For more detailed information on Odyssey, please visit www.shipwreck.net or contact Natja Igney, Odyssey's Manager of Corporate Communications, at 813-876-1776 x 2553.

(R) SS Republic is a registered trademark of Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc.

Odyssey Marine Exploration believes the information set forth in this Press Release may include "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Act of 1934.

Certain factors that could cause results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements are set forth in "Risk Factors" in Part I, Item 1A of the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2007, which has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.



SOURCE:
Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc.

Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc.,
Tampa

Natja Igney, 813-876-1776 x 2553
nigney@shipwreck.net

Copyright Business Wire 2008


Title: Re: Spain Wins Ruling Over Sunken Ship - UPDATE
Post by: Bianca on August 20, 2008, 03:40:43 pm







PREVIOUS THREADS ON THIS SUBJECT:




http://atlantisonline.smfforfree2.com/index.php/topic,1199.0.html


http://atlantisonline.smfforfree2.com/index.php/topic,5489.0.html


Title: Re: Spain Wins Ruling Over Sunken Ship - UPDATE
Post by: Bianca on August 22, 2008, 08:33:27 pm









                                    Peru wants to know origin of shipwrecked treasure







By CHRISTINE ARMARIO –
Aug. 22, 2008

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Peru's government wants to know if 17 tons of silver coins recovered from a shipwreck in the Atlantic Ocean last year were made there, complicating the legal quest to determine who rightfully owns the multimillion-dollar treasure.

Peru filed a claim Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Tampa to determine where the coins originated, entering the fray over the $500 million loot found on a sunken ship by Tampa-based Odyssey Marine Exploration. Odyssey has been fighting the Spanish government for ownership of the ship and its contents.

Peruvian consumer rights advocates contend the coins were made with Peruvian metals and minted in Lima. When Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes y las Animas sank west of Portugal with more than 200 people on board in 1804, Peru was still a Spanish colony.

"Probably every colonial Spanish shipwreck that has ever been discovered has had coins that originated in Peru," Greg Stemm, Odyssey Marine Exploration's chief executive officer, wrote in an e-mail. "So it will be interesting to see how successful they are in getting other governments and shipwreck explorers to recognize their interest."

Peru's claim states that it is entitled to any property that originated there and was produced by its people. An official at the Peruvian embassy in Washington, D.C., declined to comment.

Charles M. Davis, a maritime lawyer and author in Washington, said he couldn't recall another salvage case involving a former colony. Because technology such as submersible robots used by deep-sea explorers to find treasure is still new, he said, "There's a surprising dearth of law on high seas salvage." The case has been closely watched because similar disputes could become more common as more treasures are found on the ocean floor.

Odyssey officials have argued they're entitled to the booty because they found it. Spain has argued it technically never abandoned any of its ships lost at sea. Officials there want any artifacts returned because of their historical and cultural significance, and some in Spain have portrayed Odyssey as 21st-century pirates.

A message left with an attorney representing Spain was not immediately returned Wednesday afternoon.

Peru is not the only country seeking ownership of its antiquities. Greece is trying to reclaim illegally exported antiquities from museums and art dealers as part of an effort to recover the Parthenon sculptures from the British Museum in London.


Title: Re: Spain Wins Ruling Over Sunken Ship - UPDATE
Post by: Bianca on October 08, 2008, 08:24:45 pm









                                  Odyssey's "SHIPWRECK! Pirates & Treasure" Exhibit


                                         Sets Sail for Science Museum Oklahoma



 


TAMPA, Fla.,
Oct 08, 2008
(BUSINESS WIRE) --

Odyssey Marine Exploration (OMEX:odyssey marine exploration the world leader in the field of deep-ocean shipwreck exploration, announced today that following a successful engagement at the Detroit Science Center, its "SHIPWRECK! Pirates & Treasure" exhibit will next drop anchor at Science Museum Oklahoma (SMO) in Oklahoma City, OK from October 22, 2008 through May 31, 2009.

This interactive multi-media exhibit allows children and adults to learn about the history of shipwrecks and pirates, and also experience the research, search, archaeological recovery and conservation involved in the quest for deep-sea knowledge and treasures. The exhibit features hundreds of artifacts recovered from actual Odyssey deep-ocean archaeological excavations which tell captivating stories about each shipwreck and life during that time.

"We're thrilled to present our "SHIPWRECK! Pirates & Treasure" exhibit at Science Museum Oklahoma among its diverse permanent collection of interactive and historic exhibits and programs. With its family-oriented programming and its experience hosting a successful Titanic exhibit in 2003 and the world-renowned Bodies exhibit in 2008, we are confident that SMO will prove to be yet another outstanding host in our line-up of prestigious science museums and science centers around the country to showcase our treasures," said Mark Gordon, Odyssey's President and Chief Operating Officer.

"We arevery pleased to be able to host an exhibit of this caliber," said Don Otto, President and CEO of Science Museum Oklahoma. "The mission of our museum is to reveal the wonder and relevance of science to all who visit. 'SHIPWRECK! Pirates & Treasure' fits perfectly into that goal by expertly bringing to life the use of scientific methods for research and exploration, then revealing the joy of discovery. Our visitors from Oklahoma and the surrounding region willnot only learnsomething new but have a very enjoyableexperience as well."

"We are looking forward to our collaboration with SMO, and we are greatly appreciative of the excellent work our last host venue, the Detroit Science Center, has done to feature and promote our exhibit. All our past engagements, in New Orleans, Tampa, and most recently Detroit, have shown that the public's interest in deep-ocean exploration and shipwrecks remains very high, and Oklahoma City will be another chance for us to continue to share the excitement of our work with the public," added Mr. Gordon.
Authentic artifacts from many different shipwrecks are displayed in the exhibit, but the spotlight is on the treasures and artifacts of the SS Republic, which represented the greatest shipwreck treasure of the Civil War era. The Republic sank in 1865 while transporting a fortune in gold and silver and much needed supplies to rebuild the war-ravaged South. Odyssey discovered the wreck of the Republic nearly 1,700 feet below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean in the summer of 2003 and recovered more than 51,000 gold and silver coins, and approximately 14,000 additional artifacts in the world's most extensive deep-ocean archaeological excavation.

Guests are also given a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the research and technology used to locate shipwrecks and can get involved in a hands-on manner in many ways, such as testing their dexterity using a manipulator arm to pick up coins one at a time and identifying artifacts as they are located on the sea floor.


Title: Re: Spain Wins Ruling Over Sunken Ship - UPDATE
Post by: Bianca on October 08, 2008, 08:26:39 pm









About Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc.



Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. (NasdaqCM: OMEX) uses innovative methods and state-of-the-art technology to conduct extensive deep-ocean search and archaeological recovery operations around the world. Odyssey discovered the Civil War era shipwreck of the SS Republic(R) in 2003 and recovered over 50,000 coins and 14,000 artifacts from the site nearly 1,700 feet deep.

In May 2007, we announced the historic deep-ocean treasure recovery of over 500,000 silver and gold coins, weighing 17 tons, from a Colonial era site code-named "Black Swan." Odyssey has several shipwreck projects in various stages of development around the world.

Odyssey offers various ways to share in the excitement of deep-ocean exploration by making shipwreck treasures and artifacts available to collectors, the general public and students through its webstore, exhibits, books, television, merchandise, and educational programs. JWM Productions is currently filming Odyssey expeditions for an 11-part primetime series for Discovery Channel, which is scheduled to air worldwide in 2009. Odyssey's "SHIPWRECK! Pirates & Treasure" exhibit has been featured in New Orleans, Tampa, and Detroit, and will shortly be on display at Science Museum Oklahoma.

For more detailed information on Odyssey, please visit www.shipwreck.net or contact Natja Igney, Odyssey's Manager of Corporate Communications, at 813-876-1776 x 2553.


Title: Re: Spain Wins Ruling Over Sunken Ship - UPDATE
Post by: Bianca on October 08, 2008, 08:28:55 pm









About Science Museum Oklahoma



Science Museum Oklahoma, the state's only science museum and Smithsonian affiliate, enriches people's lives by revealing the wonder and relevance of science. With more than 350 hands-on science exhibits and inquiry-based educational programs, planetarium, and dome theater, Science Museum Oklahoma provides an engaging and enlightening experience for visitors of all ages.


The museum is located in the heart of Oklahoma City's Adventure District at 2100 NE 52nd Street in Oklahoma City.

Hours are Monday -- Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call (405) 602-6664 or visit the Web site at ScienceMuseumOK.org.
(R) SS Republic is a registered trademark of Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc.




Odyssey Marine Exploration believes the information set forth in this Press Release may include "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Act of 1934.

Certain factors that could cause results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements are set forth in "Risk Factors" in Part I, Item 1A of the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2007, which has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.


SOURCE: Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc.
Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc.
Natja Igney, 813-876-1776
nigney@shipwreck.net

Copyright Business Wire 2008


Title: Re: 'ODYSSEY MARINE' - UPDATES
Post by: Bianca on October 17, 2008, 10:13:05 am









                         Odyssey Marine Exploration crafts deal for shipwreck exploration







Tampa Bay Business Journal
oCT. 15, 2008

Odyssey Marine Exploration has reached an agreement with Intersal Inc. to take over shipwreck exploration at a site off North Carolina.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Odyssey (NASDAQ: OMEX) will share research and data acquired by Intersal, based in Plantation, related to the shipwreck, a release said.

Odyssey, based in Tampa, also plans to file documents in federal court in North Carolina to replace Intersal as plaintiff in an admiralty arrest action filed by Intersal for the site.

Intersal has an exploration permit issued by North Carolina for the shipwreck site and some surrounding areas near Beaufort Inlet, the release said.


Title: Re: 'ODYSSEY MARINE' - UPDATES
Post by: Bianca on November 19, 2008, 12:02:56 pm








                                     Spain: Only thing to discuss with U.S. firm is return of treasure






November 18, 2008 
Madrid,
(EFE via COMTEX)

Spain's Culture Ministry said Tuesday that it had received "no offer of any kind" from Odyssey Marine Exploration to share $500 million in coins, adding that the only thing Madrid wants to discuss with the U.S. treasure-hunting firm is "the complete return of all the cultural wealth it plundered."

The ministry was responding to a proposal from Odyssey to come to an understanding on the fate of
the gold and silver the treasure hunters recovered in 2007, prompting Spain to file suit in U.S. federal court demanding the return of the haul.

One day after turning over to the court more than 1,000 pages rebutting Spanish government claims about the origin of the treasure, Odyssey President Greg Stemm said Tuesday that he was holding out hope that Madrid would accept an "amicable" resolution to the contentious legal wrangle.

In addition to Spain, the Peruvian government has demanded property rights to the gold and silver
coins found by Odyssey.

Moreover, the descendents of the early-19th-century businessmen who allegedly owned the coins and other valuable objects found on the sunken wreck have expressed their interest in demanding property rights.

The Tampa court must now decide if it will accept the motion by the Spanish government, which is demanding that all objects recovered from the wreck should be under the sovereign immunity of the Kingdom of Spain.

Odyssey said in its submission to the court that since the recovery site held no human remains or
items identifying the ship, Madrid has no way of proving that the treasure came from Nuestra Señora
de Las Mercedes, a frigate sunk by British warships in October 1804 after a battle in which more than 250 Spaniards died.

In a statement signed by Stemm, Odyssey said that the pieces recovered were spread over a wide
area where there was no sign of the ship.

"Nothing recovered or seen in the information collected from the 'Black Swan' confirms its identity," Stemm said.

"The conclusions reached by Spain as to the identity of the place are based on circumstantial evidence and ignore the evidence gathered suggesting that the shipwreck of the Las Mercedes could be located somewhere else," Odyssey said.

Among the evidence cited by Stemm is the fact that the frigate was carrying twice the number of coins recovered by Odyssey.

The Tampa-based firm had until midnight Monday to answer the brief filed by Spain on Sept. 22.

The Spanish government said that the evidence is "abundant and definitive" and adds that the ship
from which Odyssey took the treasure is the Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes.

Madrid also says that the remains of the Las Mercedes belong to a marine cemetery protected by
the principle of sovereign immunity.

U.S. lawyer James Goold, who is representing the Spanish government in the legal dispute, said last month that "it is very well documented and is a historical fact" that the Mercedes sank with more
than 250 Spaniards - including sailors and civilians - on board.

Spain's Culture Ministry also accuses Odyssey of carrying out the "underwater excavation in secret
after having received specific instructions that it was prohibited."


EFE

esc/bp


Title: Re: 'ODYSSEY MARINE', Shipwreck Finders - UPDATES
Post by: Bianca on May 22, 2009, 10:00:30 am









                                Greg Stemm: is taking treasure from shipwrecks piracy?






The Times
May 21, 2009

He has made millions liberating treasure from shipwrecks, and is accused of bounty hunting.
But Greg Stemm says he is preserving history.

Tim Bouquet These days the word conjures up images of audacious hijackings of container ships off
the horn of Africa, but when, in October 2007, César Antonio Molina told reporters: “There have always been navies . . . to combat pirates”, Spain’s culture minister was referring not to Somali gangs but to the American entrepreneur Greg Stemm.

Stemm is probably the only “pirate” to run a publicly quoted company, filing financial statements with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). These reveal that he earns $350,000 a year on top of his $6.14 million shareholding, and that his investors include the founder of Dollar Car Rental, a former Finance Minister of Bermuda and Barclays Global Investors.

A fusion of Jacques Cousteau, Ernest Hemingway and Donald Trump, the 52-year-old is Chairman of Odyssey Marine Exploration (OME), which specialises in finding treasure-laden wrecks. Stemm has the precise handshake and manners of a Southern gentleman, but when we meet in London he is itching to get back to his diesel-smelling dive ship Odyssey Explorer in Cornwall, and what he calls “mucking about on the ocean”. And while he denies being a bounty hunter, he admits having no problem “marrying archaeology with a business model”.

In 2003, OME discovered the American Civil War-era SS Republic, 1,700 ft below sea level, 100 miles southeast of Savannah, Georgia. The 14,000 objects that were subsequently recovered from the paddlewheel steamship, along with 51,000 gold and silver coins, have so far netted more than £29 million in salvage fees and sales, one of the richest treasure hauls ever. A year earlier, Stemm signed a deal with the British Government to dive on HMS Sussex, an 80-gun English warship that was lost in 1664 off the coast of Gibraltar. OME believes that its cargo has “a potentially-substantial numismatic value”.

“The deal is this,” he tells me. “We pay for all the exploration and recovery costs, conservation and publication and then 80 per cent of the value of everything we find up to $45 million comes to Odyssey, then it’s 50-50 up to $500 million then 60 per cent in favour of the British Government above that. If they want the entire collection, then they write us a cheque. It’s a very good model. It’s not unlike if you find something with a metal detector in your backyard.” Only Stemm’s backyard is oceans considered too deep or hostile for anything ever to be found, and his detector is a torpedo-like device dragged five miles behind his ship that bathes the seafloor in sonar waves.


Title: Re: 'ODYSSEY MARINE', Shipwreck Finders - UPDATES
Post by: Bianca on May 22, 2009, 10:02:06 am









It was by this method that, last year, his company solved one of Britain’s greatest maritime mysteries. In April 2008, Stemm was drinking breakfast tea at his home in Tampa, Florida, when he took a call from the Odyssey Explorer in the Channel informing him of the discovery of “a very interesting shipwreck”. He was soon out on the ocean himself, alongside the marine archaeologist Dr Sean Kingsley, peering at footage from a Range Rover-sized remote operating vehicle (ROV) called Zeus as it pored over a sandbank 330 feet beneath the Explorer.

“The water was like soup,” Kingsley recalls, but after waiting for five hours, they could make out cannons strewn on the seabed. It was the largest intact collection of bronze Royal Navy guns ever found (41 of them, each worth £35,000). Zeus’s cameras picked out the royal crests of George 1 and George 11 on the 42-pounders. According to Kingsley, the weapons could have belonged only to one “first-rate” warship: HMS Victory.

The predecessor to Nelson’s flagship, the world’s biggest battleship was presumed lost during a violent storm off the coast of Alderney and Guernsey in 1744, while returning home from frightening and fleecing the French fleet. Although the Royal Navy’s prized flagship was a footnote of history, swept under the Admiralty carpet amid suggestions of faulty seamanship and a top-heavy design, it had long been a target for Stemm. The 1,910-tonne vessel, manned by 1,100 men and armed with 110 bronze cannon, is believed to have been carrying four tons of Portuguese gold and silver bullion and coin on board. Referred to as “specie”, it could be worth £700 million. “I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I was a little excited about it!” Stemm grinned at his crew from under his baseball cap.

The Odyssey Explorer did not dwell over the location, 60 miles to the south of the islands in the Western Channel. To do so could arouse the suspicions of those who regularly track the ship’s movements. “It’s a major problem,” Kingsley says. “All the shallow-water wrecks off Italy have been looted, allegedly at the command of the Mafia.”


Title: Re: 'ODYSSEY MARINE', Shipwreck Finders - UPDATES
Post by: Bianca on May 22, 2009, 10:02:51 am









Once back in port, Stemm sped to London to see the Second Sea Lord, hoping to broker a deal with English Heritage, the Ministry of Defence, and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. To provide physical proof that Victory had been found, OME was permitted to lift two of the bronze cannon from the site last October. They are now under lock and key in Portsmouth dockyard.

The maritime archaeology community did not greet Stemm’s announcement in February that he had found the wreck with unreserved enthusiasm. Even though he has scientists, archaeologists and historians on board his ships, the more traditional confines of archaeology regard him as an opportunistic arriviste. “There are some horrendous examples of commercial archaeological salvage companies destroying valuable finds because they are driven by commercial imperative,” says Mike Williams, secretary of the Nautical Archaeological Society and an expert on maritime law at the University of Wolverhampton.

“I agree 100 per cent,” Stemm says, “but Odyssey Marine isn’t one of them.” To underline its credentials, yesterday the company published details of 267 wrecks it has found in the Channel during a 4,700 square-mile mapping exercise that was conducted over four years, the first deep-sea survey of anywhere in Europe. These findings, Stemm claims, reveal the “incredible damage that is being done to these wrecks by trawlers and dredgers”.

“The English Channel is like a giant industrial wasteland. The devastation we have found flies in the face of government policy, which is to preserve wrecks in situ. We are saying that this cannot be done and that the most important artefacts must be raised.”

“From a mid-17th century merchant vessel with a cargo of elephant tusks to German U-Boats, the Channel is the history of Britain, our moat,” says Kingsley. “We are allowing our heritage to be literally sliced through.” 


Title: Re: 'ODYSSEY MARINE', Shipwreck Finders - UPDATES
Post by: Bianca on May 22, 2009, 10:03:42 am








But cultural salvage doesn’t come cheap. “When we are in excavation mode it costs us close to $1 million a month,” Stemm reveals. ROVs cost $50,000 for the smallest, the size of a refrigerator, up to nearly $4 million for a Zeus, which weighs in at eight tonnes on dry land but pirouettes over the seabed like a ballerina. Stemm was the first to adapt robots used for laying undersea pipes and cables and oilrig work to archaeology. “We spent close to $22 million on operations last year,” he says, “but the potential returns justify that.”

Stemm is a native Floridian, fishing and boats are in his blood; he can remember fishing with his grandfathers. “I was always happiest offshore,” he says. “I really wanted to study marine archaeology but they didn’t have any programmes so I did marine biology instead.”

He dropped out of college at the age of 20, and “took care of a sailboat for a gentleman in the entertainment business”. This was how he ended up working with Bob Hope, for whom he worked as a personal assistant-cum-location scout. “He was a bright guy and very kind to me. That’s what sidetracked me into advertising and marketing.”

By the mid-Eighties Stemm was still in advertising when, with a group of likeminded businessmen — including the Apple founder Steve Jobs and Michael Dell of Dell Computers — he set up the Young Entrepreneurs Organization, a network for fledgeling tycoons. Today YEO has 6,000 members in 70 countries. Stemm, though, still felt the call of the sea and when, in 1986, he met a shipbroker in a bar in Grand Cayman, an opportunity arose that seemed too good to miss.

A month later, he was the owner of an 85-ft research vessel with a double-lot decompression chamber. He and his business partner, John C. Morris, originally intended to use their purchase as a dive charter boat, but then they saw a demonstration of ROVs by the US Navy and were hooked. They bought one for $50,000.

“We soon had insurance companies and government agencies asking us to look for sunken boats and other stuff, but what really set me thinking was attending an archaeology conference. I suddenly saw that the world was polarised between archaeologists, who didn’t have any money for excavation, and treasure hunters.” 


Title: Re: 'ODYSSEY MARINE', Shipwreck Finders - UPDATES
Post by: Bianca on May 22, 2009, 10:04:29 am








In 1994 Stemm and Morris, since retired, founded Odyssey Marine Exploration. From Phoenician trading ships to men of war, Stemm built up a database of 3,000 shipwrecks around the world and divided them into those that were worth exploring financially and those that were not. Then he went hunting for the big ones.

Not every government gets along with Stemm. In July 2007, the Spanish Civil Guard intercepted his one of his other ships, Ocean Alert, just after she left Gibraltar and escorted her into Algeciras, where she and her crew were searched and computer hard drives confiscated.

The Spanish believed that the 17-tonne, £253 million haul of coins, gold ornaments and tableware that OME had found on a colonial-era shipwreck it codenamed “Black Swan” located “somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean” was either a Spanish warship, Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes, or another vessel that had gone down in Spanish waters. But the coins had flown, literally — loaded into white plastic buckets, transferred to a jet at Gibraltar and then on to the US, where a leading expert in antique coinage, Nick Bruyer, pronounced the find: “unprecedented. I don’t know of anything equal or comparable to it.” Three months later, Odyssey Explorer was seized off the coast of Gibraltar, at which point the Spanish Culture Minister uttered his pointed remarks about piracy.

Spain has since filed a claim for ownership of the treasure ship in the US federal court, where Stemm is applying for a salvage award. US courts have a jurisdiction over who has rights to wrecks found in international waters.

So why did he move the treasure so fast? “It’s complicated, legally,” Stemm says. “One hypothesis so far is that the cargo on the site could be from the Mercedes,” he admits, “but we did not know to whom the coins belonged at the time, and it is still not clear. In fact, a ship believed to be the Mercedes was found lying in Portuguese waters far from our find, so that seems to contradict the theory. Her legal fate is now in the hands of a judge; it’s the only way to safeguard the integrity of the site.”

And the coins? “They are in a secret conservation lab in Florida,” he says “where they are being slowly and meticulously conserved.” None of them can appear for sale on his online Shipwreck Store until the lawyers have finished haggling, but, not missing a trick, he is marketing “authentic replica” Black Swan coins, “cast from the original coins”.

“I have to hire a lot of lawyers,” Stemm shrugs. “Marine archaeology is a legally untested area.” Work on HMS Sussex has also been postponed to allow Gibraltar-related diplomatic issues to be resolved between Spain and the UK. From Victory, also found in international waters, Stemm has lodged a fire-brick from the ship’s kitchen in the US court “symbolising that the judge has control of the entire site.” He will decide who can claim salvage to her spoils, once the British Government has decided how much of the site it wants Stemm to excavate (the fabric of the ship is too damaged to bring to the surface).

More than once OME has been accused of being stealthy and secretive. “We do not disclose information about specific shipwrecks during the search process,” Stemm says, “but we share our discoveries with the world.”

The artefacts and treasure, photos, video, and archaeological information are made accessible to the public through Odyssey’s website. There have been numerous TV programmes, presentations, academic papers and travelling exhibitions in the United States.

“One of the great disservices our critics have done to us is to say that this is all about the money,” says Stemm, who was part of the UNESCO experts’ meeting that negotiated the Draft Convention for the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage. “We love the artefacts,” he says, “we love the history. Wrecks are time capsules and we can do what governments and museums cannot afford to do alone. We also have to earn a living at it.” 


Title: Re: 'ODYSSEY MARINE', Shipwreck Finders - UPDATES
Post by: Bianca on June 04, 2009, 05:01:10 pm









                                Treasure hunters ordered to return £250m of loot to Spain


              American treasure-hunters have been ordered to handover an estimated £250 million


               worth of gold and silver coins salvaged from a Spanish shipwreck in Atlantic waters.
 





By Fiona Govan
in Madrid
4 Jun 2009

The Spanish government has won a two-year legal battle against commercial marine archaeologist firm Odyssey, which Spain accused of plundering its national heritage.

The Florida-based Odyssey Marine Exploration recovered 17 tons of gold and silver from a sunken vessel they code-named the "Black Swan" in March 2007. The Nasdaq-listed company refused to reveal the location of the wreck insisting that it had been found in international waters and therefore beyond the legal jurisdiction of any one country.

But when the record haul was announced Spain came to suspect the treasure had been looted from the Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes, a Spanish frigate laden with bullion from the Americas that sunk by the British off the coast of Portugal in October 1804.

Spain branded the Odyssey team "21st century pirates" and sent its navy to intercept vessels owned by Odyssey as they explored the waters around Spain. They seized equipment and records but failed to find the salvaged coins which had already been secretly flown out to a warehouse in Tampa, Florida.

In May 2007 the Spanish government launched legal proceedings with the US courts against Odyssey arguing that the wreck was protected by "sovereign immunity" which prohibits the unauthorised disturbance or commercial exploitation of state-owned naval vessels.

In a landmark ruling on Wednesday a judge at the Federal Court in Tampa found against Odyssey and ordered the treasure to be returned to Spain.

Angeles Gonzales-Sinde, Spain's minister of culture, welcomed the decision. "The Judge saw that the ship and its contents belong to Spain. It's a hugely important ruling and one that will set a precedent for future claims."

The ruling could have an impact on future finds by the company, which is in talks with the British government over salvaging the wreck of the HMS Sussex, an 80-gun warship believed to be carrying 10 tonnes of gold when it sank off the coast of Spain during a storm in 1694.

Odyssey said it will appeal the court's decision. "I'm confident that ultimately the judge or the appellate court will see the legal and evidentiary flaws in Spain's claim," said Gregg Stemm, the CEO of Odyssey. "We'll be back to argue the merits of the case."


Title: Re: 'ODYSSEY MARINE', Shipwreck Finders - UPDATES
Post by: Bianca on June 04, 2009, 05:02:12 pm







Spanish greed has not abated, even after so many centuries!!!


Title: Re: 'ODYSSEY MARINE', Shipwreck Finders - UPDATES
Post by: Bianca on June 05, 2009, 06:40:07 pm









                                  U.S. judge recommends returning treasure to Spain
           





Jim Loney
Jun 4, 2009
MIAMI
(Reuters)

– A U.S. judge said a shipwreck found by an American treasure hunting company is the Spanish warship Mercedes and its loot should be returned to Spain, but the firm said on Thursday it would contest the non-binding decision.

The recommendations on Wednesday by a magistrate judge in Tampa, Florida, marked the latest step in a lengthy battle between the treasure hunters, Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc, and the governments of Spain and Peru over nearly 600,000 silver and gold coins valued at some $500 million.

The Spanish government hailed the decision from Magistrate Mark Pizzo, which called for the treasure to be returned to Spain within 10 days. But it was simply a recommendation to a U.S. district court judge, who will issue a final order.

"I am delighted that the judge has ruled that the ship belongs to Spain and the treasure belongs to Spain. It is a very important decision," said Spanish Culture Minister Angeles Gonzalez-Sinde, adding it set an important precedent.

Odyssey's shares closed nearly 43 percent lower at $2.21 on the Nasdaq exchange on Thursday.

The company said the magistrate's recommendations would have no impact on its balance sheet because the coins were never treated as assets.

Odyssey discovered wreckage and a 17-tonne haul of artifacts in March 2007 in international waters about 100 miles west of the Straits of Gibraltar.

Spain said the coins came from the Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes, a frigate carrying treasure back from Peru when it was sunk by British gunboats off the Spanish coast in 1804.

Spain claimed the loot as its own, but not before Odyssey had flown the treasure to Florida from Gibraltar, a British territory.


Title: Re: 'ODYSSEY MARINE', Shipwreck Finders - UPDATES
Post by: Bianca on June 05, 2009, 06:42:22 pm









CODE NAME 'BLACK SWAN'



The Mercedes sank in the first few minutes of the Battle of Cape St. Mary's as an explosion ripped it apart, killing more than 200 sailors. The attack led Spain to declare war on Britain and enter the Napoleonic Wars on the side of France.

Pizzo said in his report there was solid evidence the wreckage was that of the Mercedes, as Spain argued.

"The debris field's location, coins, cannons and artifacts persuasively match the Mercedes historical record," he wrote.

He said the Tampa court did not have jurisdiction in the case and recommended the artifacts be returned to Spain.

Odyssey, which had code-named its recovery project "Black Swan," said it planned to file a written objection to the decision and would "vigorously defend its rights to what it has legally recovered."

"We'll be back to argue the merits of the case," Odyssey chief executive Greg Stemm said. "Odyssey has done everything by the book. For the court to find that enough evidence exists to conclusively identify the site as the Mercedes ... is just wrong."

Peru, which was ruled by Spain at the time the Mercedes was sunk, entered the legal fray in August when it filed a claim for information with the Tampa court. The filing said the coins may be "part of the patrimony of the Republic of Peru."



(Additional reporting by

Ben Harding
in Madrid;

Editing by
John O'Callaghan)