Treasure hunting

Numerous priceless artifacts including: solid gold and silver coins, jewelry, uncut gemstones and silver bars weighing over 70 pounds have been recovered so far.
Numerous priceless artifacts including: solid gold and silver coins, jewelry, uncut gemstones and silver bars weighing over 70 pounds have been recovered so far.

350-Year-Old Spanish Shipwreck yields massive treasure

The Nuestra Señora de las Maravillas (Our Lady of Wonders) sank with a cargo of gold, silver, and gems on the western side of the Little Bahama Bank in 1656. The Spanish galleon was part of a fleet sailing to Spain from Havana with royal and privately-consigned treasures from the Americas. Failing to navigate shallow waters, however, it collided with the flagship of the fleet and hit a reef. Of the 650 people on board, only 45 survived.

The stuff of dreams! Financially significant artifacts recovered from shipwrecks off the coast of Florida

Returning cultural heritage to its rightful owner

Earlier that summer, the government of Spain successfully argued that, under the terms of international Sovereign Immunity, it never abandoned or otherwise relinquished its ownership of the Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes, which sunk during a sea battle with the British Navy in 1804. At the time of its loss, the Mercedes was sailing back to Spain from South America.

Who Owns a Shipwreck?

Wreck of the African's Company Steamship Soudan in Funchal Bay, Madeira, ILN 1875

New technology now allows for the exploration of deep-water wrecks previously not accessible. But, who really owns a shipwreck?

Most countries, especially coastal states, have their own legislation that regulates the exploration and exploitation of shipwrecks as a cultural or economic resource.

Reliquary found at Santa Margarita Shipwreck
Reliquary found at Santa Margarita Shipwreck

Significant Artifact Discovered on Santa Margarita Shipwreck

Captain Dan Porter and dive partner Bobby Hartwell were working at a depth of about 20 feet, in an area where Porter and his crew had already uncovered 17th century ceramic pieces, a musket ball, and a scattering of large ballast stones. Weather conditions had deteriorated throughout the day and by afternoon “were so rough that the current was running straight up the boat’s stern and had exerted enough force to break the vessels bow line,” said Porter.

SS Port Nicholson was a British refrigerated cargo ship which was sunk by a German U-boat during the Second World War
SS Port Nicholson was a British refrigerated cargo ship which was sunk by a German U-boat during the Second World War

Sub Sea Research to recover WWII freighter laden with precious metals

Sea Hunters, L.P., a division of the Portland Maine based shipwreck research and recovery company Sub Sea Research, embark to recover of one of the world's wealthiest wrecks.

Update

It was reported that the wreck of the Port Nicholson was discovered in 2008 by Greg Brooks, of the American company Sub Sea Research, but the discovery was kept secret until February 2012.

Brooks initially claimed to be investigating an unidentified vessel, codenamed Blue Baron, that lay off the coast of Guyana in South America.