Take back America

Take back America
Take back America

None dare call it treason

None dare call it treason

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Governments think they own everything

Judge: U.S. Deep-Sea Explorers Must Return Shipwreck Treasure to Spain
Thursday, June 04, 2009

TAMPA, Fla. — A federal judge says deep-sea explorers based in Florida should give 17 tons of shipwreck treasure back to Spain.
Odyssey Marine Exploration said Thursday it will fight a federal magistrate judge's recommendation that the estimated $500 million in silver coins and other 19th century artifacts go to the Spanish government.
Another federal judge will consider the recommendation and decide.
Tampa-based Odyssey has been locked in a court battle with Spain over the ownership of the treasure since announcing the find in May 2007.
Federal magistrate judge Mark Pizzo wrote in an order Wednesday that Spain is the rightful owner of the treasure, which was being carried by a Spanish navy galleon when it sank southwest of Portugal in 1804.

After a tense standoff, the Odyssey Explorer was led to port by a Spanish government vessel.
Back in May, Odyssey Marine Exploration counted the reasons why its latest treasure — an estimated $500 million in silver in a shipwreck — was theirs for the keeping, since the coins recovered “beyond the territorial waters or legal jurisdiction of any country.”
This week, we learned that Spain strongly disagrees. An incensed senior official summed it up to Agence France-Press:
Spanish Culture Minister Antonio Molina said Florida-based Odyssey Marine Exploration was made up of “modern pirates” and he warned that “against pirates, there have always been navies, laws and the state of law.”
“We will pursue them wherever they are. It is a question of national pride and patriotism,” he told reporters, adding the Nasdaq-listed firm “will not escape unharmed for what it has done”.
And those words were preceded with military muscle. On its way out of the Straits of Gibraltar, Odyssey’s Explorer found itself eye-to-eye with a Spanish warship backed by other vessels. The standoff lasted 4 hours before Captain Sterling Vorus agreed to head to port under the “threat of deadly force,” he told Britain’s Telegraph. He was briefly detained.
The episode has left Greg Stemm, Odyssey’s chief executive, expressing confusion with Spain’s intentions. “We’re not sure what the inspection of the Explorer is meant to accomplish,” he said, according to The Tampa Tribune. “We had again invited Spanish officials to inspect the Explorer in advance of our departure and they chose not to take us up on it.”
The coins themselves were brought to “a secure, undisclosed location” before the May announcement and neither side disputes that they are of Spanish origin. Indeed, Odyssey disclosed that fact “when it completed customs forms in Gibraltar on April 10 and May 16,” El Pais reported.
Mr. Stemm refused to respond to reports cited by The Associated Press saying that the captain delayed the search so that “high-tech equipment” could be removed. But two keys to establishing Spain’s claim remain in his grip.
The origin of the shipwreck remains a mystery, the company says, leaving open the possibility that another nation owned the coins. And no one else can investigate further, since Odyssey refuses to reveal anything about the site except that it is “code-named ‘Black Swan’ in an undisclosed location in the Atlantic Ocean.”
And Odyssey is showing no signs of fessing up. Until then, Spanish politicians will be left howling at a secretive American company holding a treasure that has “entered into Spanish lore as the world’s greatest sunken booty.”
Governments don't go after treasures until they have been found by private individuals. Treasure hunters invested the time and money to find treasures and should have the right to keep all of it.

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