Artifacts on the Rock

Odyssey Statement to Panorama:
by Aladar Nesser, Odyssey’s Director of International Relations

The current situation with the “Black Swan” artifacts that remain in Gibraltar rests squarely with Spain’s lawyers and was not caused by the Gibraltar government or by Odyssey. Spain’s repeated requests to the Gibraltar government, based on false accusations that the “Black Swan” artifacts came from Spanish Territorial waters in the Mediterranean, prevented the artifacts from being transported to the United States, where Spain’s representatives would have had full access and Odyssey would have been able to verify an inventory of the artifacts.

If the artifacts had been transported to the US when Odyssey originally planned to ship them, they would now be in Spain with the rest of the recovered items. To be clear, Odyssey has reported the existence of the artifacts in Gibraltar since the very beginning of this case, and in fact has attempted since 2007, to have the artifacts transported into the jurisdiction of the US Federal Court.

Artifacts that Remain in Gibraltar

• A container of artifacts from Odyssey’s “Amsterdam” search project remains in a bonded customs warehouse in Gibraltar. This contains artifacts from four separate shipwrecks in the “Amsterdam” search area, including the “Black Swan” site.

• The “Amsterdam” search area was in the Atlantic Ocean beyond the territorial waters or jurisdiction of any country.

• Odyssey operates legally and transparently in its operations. All artifacts recovered from the “Black Swan” site were shipped via truck to either the airport where they were loaded for transport back to the United States or to the bonded customs warehouse in Gibraltar. Throughout the case, documentation shows that Odyssey reported the location of all of the artifacts recovered from the “Black Swan” site to the appropriate authorities.

• A container of artifacts from the “Black Swan” site has been in the Customs warehouse since 2007, sealed by Gibraltar Customs and unopened until 16/3/2012, when the container was opened for inspection under the supervision of Gibraltar Customs and a Public Notary.

• Odyssey attempted to have these artifacts shipped to Florida on multiple occasions, at which point they would have been recorded, documented and placed into a final verified inventory of artifacts that were part of the “Black Swan” case heard in the US Court.

• Spain issued several MLA (Mutual Legal Assistance) requests to the Gibraltar government which were based on false accusations that the “Black Swan” artifacts were recovered from Spanish Territorial waters. As a result, Gibraltar did not issue an export license to transport the artifacts to the United States.

• As early as July 2007, Odyssey asked the US District Court and Spain’s attorney for assistance in removing the legal barrier to export from Gibraltar so they could be shipped to Florida for inventory and conservation. If they had been transferred to the United States, they would have been part of the materials available for inspection by Spain’s representatives and would have been part of the shipment which has already been transferred back to Spain.

• Descendants of the owners of the coin cargo transported aboard the Mercedes have filed a claim in Gibraltar Admiralty Court.