Five-Year Battle Over Treasure

Imagine you went diving off the coast of a foreign country and found an immense treasure to find that later on, you would not have rightful possession of it? That is the case with odyssey Marine Exploration and the Government of Spain.

According to the article, there has been a five year lawsuit over a treasure that is reported to be the most richest shipwreck treasure in all of history. The discovery was made by a Tampa- based organization by the name of Odyssey Marine Exploration off the coast of Portugal back in 2007. Now, the Spanish are sending planes over to Florida to obtain 17 tons of treasure. A U.S. judge on the federal level ruled and ordered that Odyssey would need to give Spanish officials access to the silver coins along with other artifacts as of next Tuesday.


The treasure is estimated to be worth 380 million euro ($504 million). Odyssey discovered them in a Spanish galleon by the name of Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes and yet Spain is fighting to obtain most if not all the treasure. They claim to keep the treasure in several museums as classification of the nation’s heritage. The battle here is that the vessel has not positively been identified as the Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes and that the vessel was simply a cargo ship if it indeed was. The only way Spain could be protected is if this vessel is identified as a warship instead.

Putting the laws aside, I believe the Odyssey Marine exploration organization has full right to not surrender the treasure. Even though it is Spanish treasure, they shouldn’t be able to come and collect something they didn’t even go out and venture for. I think they should put them in Museums here in the U.S. or possibility make money by holding an auction for collectors who are interested in obtaining such pieces.  In this case, it could be a flat out plea bargain for the Spanish since they’ve been in an economic crisis for awhile. Even though, the article states that they would not use it for monetary gain for their economy, one way or another, they will benefit from it. I do empathize with them on the other hand and do see why they should have rights into obtaining pieces of their heritage. If I were the judge that ruled in that case,  I would clarify the identity of the vessel before any action was set to be taken forth. Then from there, rule according to the law.

I guess the saying ” finders keepers, losers weepers” isn’t always the case.


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