Odyssey Marine Exploration, the world's leader in the field of deep-ocean shipwreck exploration, stated today that it has determined that claims in the press that the Kingdom of Spain has filed a lawsuit against Odyssey were false. Odyssey's counsel spoke to Jim Goold, the lawyer apparently representing Spain, and Goold confirmed in a conversation this morning that Spain has NOT filed a lawsuit against Odyssey, and that any media reports suggesting that a lawsuit was filed are erroneous.
The only document filed is a Verified Claim stating that the Spanish Government does not intend to give up property rights to any Spanish property which might be on sites on which Odyssey filed Admiralty arrests during the past year, including two unidentified colonial sites in the Atlantic Ocean and a 20th century steamship.
"Such a move was anticipated by Odyssey and is considered normal in Admiralty cases," commented John Morris, Odyssey's CEO.
None of the arrested sites have been confirmed as the "Black Swan" and Odyssey has informed the Spanish Government through official diplomatic channels that when - and if - the identity of the "Black Swan" is confirmed, Odyssey will notify any entities that might have an interest - including the Spanish Government - of the specific information about the shipwreck.
In Odyssey's press release of May 21, 2007 the Company anticipated such an action from possible claimants and addressed the issue as follows:
"If we are able to confirm that some other entity has a legitimate legal claim to this shipwreck when - and if - the identity is confirmed, we intend to provide legal notice to any and all potential claimants. Even if another entity is able to prove that it has an ownership interest in the shipwreck and/or cargo and that they had not legally abandoned the shipwreck, Odyssey would apply for a salvage award from the Admiralty Court. In cases such as this, salvors are typically awarded up to 90% of the recovery.
"We do believe that most shipwrecks that we recover, including the `Black Swan', will likely result in claims by other parties. Many will be spurious claims, but we anticipate that there might be some legitimate ones as well. In the case of the `Black Swan', it is the opinion of our legal counsel that even if a claim is deemed to be legitimate by the courts, Odyssey should still receive title to a significant majority of the recovered goods."
Until now, Odyssey has confined all communications to the Spanish government to official channels through the UK and US embassies in Spain in order to ensure that all information relayed is accurate.
Odyssey will continue to communicate through the US and UK embassies to Spain and again confirms that the "Black Swan" shipwreck was not found in Spanish waters or the territorial waters of any sovereign nation. Once the identity of the shipwreck is confirmed, Odyssey will inform all parties that may have an interest.