Thursday, January 24, 2008

"Pirates of the 21st Century" in Dispute with Spain

Spain's largest newspaper referred to them as "Pirates of the 21st Century."

But the question is this: should Odyssey Marine Exploration be granted ownership of the treasure they painstakingly unearthed... if the approximately $500 million, centuries-old shipwreck is proven to originally belong to Spain?

The playground legal principle "Finders keepers, losers weepers" is being put to the test in an international dispute over what could be the richest sunken treasure ever found: 17 tons of silver coins brought up from a centuries-old shipwreck.

A Florida treasure-hunting company, Odyssey Marine Exploration, found the wreck at the bottom of the Atlantic and argues that the age-old law of the high seas entitles the finders to most or all of the booty, said to be worth around $500 million.

But the government of Spain suspects the ship was Spanish and says it has never expressly abandoned any of its vessels lost at sea. The kingdom has made it clear that if the treasure does have some connection to Spain, it wants every last coin returned.

What do you think?

You can visit the Odyssey Marine Exploration web site (and purchase authentic shipwreck treasures) at

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