Spanish patrol boat intercepts US treasure hunter
16 October 2007, MADRID - AFP - Spanish police on Tuesday intercepted and searched a boat operated by a US maritime salvage firm which Madrid believes may have taken treasure worth millions from a sunken Spanish galleon.
16 October 2007
MADRID - AFP - Spanish police on Tuesday intercepted and searched a boat operated by a US maritime salvage firm which Madrid believes may have taken treasure worth millions from a sunken Spanish galleon.
A patrol boat challenged the "Odyssey Explorer" just after it crossed into international waters after leaving the British territory of Gibraltar and escorted it to the southern Spanish port of Algeciras, a police spokesman said.
Civil guards boarded the ship and began searching it, the spokesman added.
It is the second time that a ship belonging to Odyssey Marine Exploration has been intercepted by Spanish police since the Florida firm announced in May that it had found half a million silver coins, and hundreds of gold objects, somewhere in international waters in the Atlantic Ocean.
In July, Spanish police intercepted the "Ocean Alert" after it left Gibraltar and searched it before letting the boat continue its journey several days later.
In both cases police were acting on the orders of a court in the southern port of Cadiz which is looking into the origin of the sunken treasure.
The Spanish government argues that if the shipwreck was Spanish or was removed from its waters any treasure would belong to Spain. It has filed claims over the shipwreck at a Florida court.
But the marine salvage company says the fact that the coins have been identified as being Spanish does not mean they were found on a Spanish ship.
Citing security reasons, the firm has refused to disclose the exact location of the shipwreck, which it has nicknamed the "Black Swan".
Odyssey flew its 17-tonne haul from Gibraltar to its US headquarters in Florida in May.
Subject: Spanish news