U.S. Judge Mark Pizzo ruled Wednesday that the location of the shipwreck site where 17-tons of Colonial-era gold and silver coins were hauled up from the ocean floor must be kept a secret.
The legal dispute started back in May of 2007 when Odyssey Marine Exploration discovered a 17th-century shipwreck, they code-named the “Black Swan”. Spain filed legal claims contending the treasure is a part of their country’s cultural heritage and should be returned. Odyssey said the treasure was found in international waters and was legally retrieved.
Judge Pizzo ruled earlier this year that Odyssey must give the location of the Black Swan to Spain and provide them an opportunity to inspect the treasure. The parties were to keep this information confidential.
In the latest court action, Judge Pizzo ruled partially for a new Spain motion in that artifact listings and photographs were not confidential. However, he ruled against the most significant portion of the motion by keeping the location of the shipwrecked site confidential.
" … in the interest of protecting the security of the site, the Court finds that the preliminary site assessments, the site plans, the photographs of the sea bed and the photomosaics should remain confidential at this stage in the litigation.”
Judge Pizzo’s ruling may be read in its entirety by following, Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. v. The Unidentified Shipwrecked Vessel. For a different perspective of this story, the following AFP article is embedded: