3 Mar, 2012 @ 10:00
1 min read

Spain demands return of Gibraltar treasure

SPAIN is demanding the return of treasure currently being stored in Gibraltar, belonging to the controversial Odyssey haul. 

The 59 coins and artifacts were recovered from a Spanish galleon off the Strait of Gibraltar along with 17 tons of gold and silver coins in 2007.

The haul, estimated to be worth as much as 375 million euros, was flown to the US before being returned to Spain last week following a five-year legal battle.

The 594,000 coins were recovered from the Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes, sunk by a British warship in 1804, by US salvage company Odyssey Marine Exploration.

The Spanish government opposed the firm’s claim to the treasure and eventually won its battle after a court supported its claim to ownership of the Mercedes.

The Peruvian government also made a late claim to the trove after claiming that the coins had originated in Peru.

The treasure is being stored at a secret location, with the culture ministry stating it will go on display at Spanish museums as part of the country’s national heritage.

James Bryce

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  1. I have always understood that salvage belongs to the person who salvages it.

    Which authority is “a court” and how do they overrule International Maritime Law?

  2. Tom: you may or may not be right about salvage in the open ocean. However, countries are entitled to claim territorial rights for a certain distance from their shores. I believe this is what Spain is doing. Except they are being inordinately greedy and should do what the U.K. does in the case of “treasure trove” and reward the finder handsomely. Stuff their mouths with gold in fact.

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