April 18, 2014

Odyssey Marine Exploration

Treasure, Interrupted for Odyssey Marine

The country's largest publicly traded shipwreck exploration company has three promising finds but faces hurdles in opening the treasure chests.

Mike Vogel | 10/1/2008

porthole
A porthole window (above) and a collection of bottles (below) recovered from the SS Republicporthole
Odyssey says the Virginia case isn’t a good parallel to the “Black Swan.” The Mercedes, the company says, was carrying mostly commercial cargo, eliminating Spain’s sovereign immunity claim. In any case, that claim applies to its vessel, which wasn’t found, not to cargo Spain didn’t own, Odyssey contends. Also, since the treasure was found in international waters, international law prevails rather than the particular United States law applied in the Virginia case.

Goold counters that the treasure hunters in the Virginia case got nothing. “Such is the risk of treasure salvage,” Goold says. Risk, indeed. The British sailors who hoped for all of the spoils from the Battle of Cape St. Mary 204 years ago ended up disappointed — they lost out on a technicality of admiralty law.

Odyssey MarineMark Gordon
Three finds in 18 months isn’t just luck, says Odyssey President Mark Gordon. Rather, Odyssey is benefiting from new technology and better utilization of its ships. It has eliminated, albeit through expensive searching, thousands of miles of seabed, narrowing the field of where valuable wrecks can be. “We’re able to search more ocean more quickly and more efficiently.” Above is Odyssey’s seven-ton “Zeus.”

Tags: Tampa Bay

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