04 Nov

Odyssey Marine attempt to raid HMS Victory

As expected, Odyssey Marine, the plundering American ‘marine exploration’ company are intent on raising HMS Victory from its resting place in the English Channel.

Using the cynical argument that fishing is damaging the wreck site, they want merely to get at the estimated $1bn of gold that the ship is said to hold. Have a look at the BBC article and listen to their CEO try to justify an operation to raise the wreck.

This is the company that plundered gold from a Spanish ship but was then ordered to hand the treasure back to Spain (see BBC article here). They are clearly trying to make their claim appear legitimate to the UK government and the Ministry of Defence, but they are well known for their tactics and are unlikely to be able to dive on the wreck, let alone bring anything further to the surface.

A number of concerned groups have contacted the authorities to express their concern and offer professional (and non-commercial) assistance in the archaeology and conservation of the wreck and the artefacts contained within it.

Read more about the Alderney Elizabethan Wreck

One thought on “Odyssey Marine attempt to raid HMS Victory

  1. IMHO there are various issues here.
    1. Sovereign immunity makes the vessel the property of the British Crown.
    2. Based on the TV programme, OME appears to be taking the proper approach to human remains in consulting the MoD etc as items are found.
    3. With the remains located at 330 feet, how many people/organisations are going to be able to dive on the site?
    4. Given the likely costs of OME’s vessel, equipment and operation, I fail to see why they should not be allowed to recover their costs and make a reasonable profit.
    5. The Department of Culture is apparently now involved and, via English Heritage, will no doubt obtain any items of archaeological significance and, hopefully, a significant proportion of any gold etc.

    I don’t see a problem with any of this provided that OME doesn’t secretly have it away with any undisclosed gold.

    Could any British archaeological organisation have found this? No. Would the British Government have invested public money in this? No.

    The choice is between getting some material of archaeological significance, and maybe some gold, from the site of this wreck (that may only be part of the stern) and getting nothing.

    Despite the horror of the archaeological community, something is better than nothing.

    Obvious, really!

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