First shipwreck identified in Odyssey dispute

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One of the three shipwrecks at the centre of a legal battle between Spain and a US treasure-hunter is "in all likelihood" the SS Ancona.

13 March 2008

MADRID - One of the three shipwrecks at the centre of a legal battle between Spain and a US treasure-hunter is "in all likelihood" the SS Ancona, an Italian-American passenger liner that was sunk in 1915 off the coast of Sardinia by a German U-boat, a US federal judge said Wednesday.

In a six-page order, Judge Mark Pizzo said that Odyssey Marine Exploration has disclosed its findings to the Spanish government, which in turn may voluntarily dismiss its claim over the shipwreck in the Mediterranean in the next few days.

The SS Ancona was sunk during a routine trip from Naples to New York on 6 November 1915. The vessel went down with mostly Italian women and children emigrants aboard. Among its cargo were 12 barrels of gold coins and a shipment of silver.

Judge Pizzo has given Odyssey, a Tampa, Florida-based salvaging firm, 30 days to supply Spain with the identity of two other vessels it discovered last year in the Atlantic.

Spain will have 10 days afterwards to inform the court of whether it intends to maintain its claims on the shipwrecks.

[Copyright EL PAÍS 2008]

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