Three divers face jail for 'plundering treasure'
2 December 2005, LONDON — A team of divers could be facing extradition to Spain accused of plundering shipwrecks off the Galician coast.
2 December 2005
LONDON — A team of divers could be facing extradition to Spain accused of plundering shipwrecks off the Galician coast.
It was originally claimed that the British team was illegally diving for gold and diamonds on a wreck off Galicia on the north west coast of Spain.
The BBC reports they now face charges of theft and damaging Spanish heritage and up to six years in jail.
Peter Devlin, Malcolm Cubin, and Steve Russ deny the charges.
The Spanish authorities arrested the three commercial divers after they dived on the wrecked Dutch ship Friesland in 2002.
Devlin, from Falmouth, Cornwall, says his company, Force 9 Salvage, had a contract with the Spanish government.
The Friesland was carrying 220 tonnes of tin ingots worth about GBP 650,000.
But after recovering just one tin ingot the divers were arrested and questioned over allegations of illegally diving for gold and diamonds on a nearby wreck.
In November the divers learned they had been charged and now fear the Spanish authorities could apply for an EU arrest warrant which would allow for their extradition.
The Spanish prosecutor is demanding three years on each count.
Cubin, also from Cornwall, told BBC News: "They have no case whatsoever, it's insane.
"Our permits were even checked by the Guardia Civil (Spanish Police) before we went diving.
"We are commercial divers. We are professionals, not treasure hunters."
Julia Goldsworthy, MP for Falmouth in the UK, is pressing the Foreign Office to resolve the issue.
Subject: Spanish news