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Wreck team seek to 'allay fears'

16 April 09 05:51 GMT

A marine exploration company which found a historic wreck off the Alderney coast is to meet the island's president to "allay fears" about its salvage.

Odyssey Marine Exploration discovered the wreck of the HMS Victory, which sank in 1744, in May 2008.

The ship, the predecessor to Nelson's famous flagship, went down during a storm with the loss of 1,000 lives.

President Sir Norman Browse has said he fears the wreck site was "cruelly invaded", but Odyssey has denied this.

Aladar Nesser, director of the Florida-based firm, told BBC News: "Our objective is to keep the artefacts together as part of an exhibition.

"We're not a grab and run operation, I challenge anyone to find one incidence where we have done that. It's our job to clarify things and let the public know the facts versus the speculation.

"Everything we have ever done is in accordance with the law, transparent and very forward thinking."

He said it was "solid archaeology" with a "commercial angle".

It is believed the wreck of the Victory could contain more than $1bn (£667m) of gold treasure.

Two bronze cannon have already been recovered.

Although the remains were discovered in international waters, as a military wreck, any gold recovered will be the property of the UK government.

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