El buque Odyssey Explorer en Algeciras en 2007.
Spain shipwreck treasure claim
Spain has formally laid claim to a haul of half a million gold and silver coins raised from a shipwreck by the American treasure-hunting company Odyssey Marine Exploration. The wreck was discovered last year in the North Atlantic.
This report from Steve Kingstone:
Listen to the story
In its legal submission, the Spanish government says the mysterious shipwreck is the Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes - a Spanish naval frigate which was destroyed by the British in 1804. The government in Madrid says that, under international law, the vessel and its contents are the property of the Spanish state.
Except, the Mercedes' precious cargo has already been removed. More than half a million gold and silver coins were raised from the wreck by Odyssey Marine Exploration, the NASDAC registered company which located the ship. Weighing seventeen tonnes, the haul was brought ashore in Gibraltar and promptly flown to Florida, where the company is based.
Odyssey Marine Exploration did keep the identity and location of the ship secret for many months - although last month the company publicly acknowledged that the wreck was "possibly" the Mercedes. Odyssey insists it's broken no laws, and suggests the Spanish government had, in effect, already abandoned the ship to its fate.
The coins and other artifacts, whose combined value has been estimated at half a billion dollars, are said by the company to be at a "secure location." A judge in Miami will eventually rule on the rightful ownership of this valuable slice of naval history.
Steve Kingstone, BBC News, Madrid
Listen to the words
buque o nave
Excepto o Salvo (que la carga de "Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes" ya había sido retirada)
broken no laws
(no ha) violado ninguna ley
abandoned the ship to its fate
abandonado la nave a su destino
combined value has been estimated at
(cuyo) valor total ha sido estimado
rule on the rightful ownership
determinará o fallará quién es el dueño legítimo
trozo, porción (en este caso: parte valiosa de la historia naval)