[Pounds Sterling]250m Sunken Treasure; World's Biggest Haul of Pirate Booty 'Found Just 40 Miles off Land's End'

Daily Mail (London), May 19, 2007 | Go to article overview

[Pounds Sterling]250m Sunken Treasure; World's Biggest Haul of Pirate Booty 'Found Just 40 Miles off Land's End'


Byline: BARRY WIGMORE

IT'S a haul that would make pirate Jack Sparrow's eyes water.

Treasure hunters have discovered what they believe to be the world's most valuable shipwreck at a location thought to be off the Cornish coast.

Even as Captain Jack prepares to make his cinematic return in Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End, it is instead Land's End where the multimillion-pound treasure trove is suspected to be languishing.

Using state-of-the-art mini-submarines, hunters have already recovered 17 tons of 17th-century gold and silver coins from the wreck - codenamed the Black Swan - worth at least [pounds sterling]250million.

Experts said last night that there could be hundreds of millions of pounds worth of bullion still on the ocean floor.

The treasure found so far includes 500,000 silver coins, hundreds of gold coins, gold ornaments and tableware and other

golden artefacts. The discovery was made by secretive U.S.

underwater treasure hunt company Odyssey Marine Exploration.

Under international salvage law the company, of Tampa, Florida, could get up to 90 per cent of its find, depending on who the ship's original owners were and if any other claimants come forward.

Some of the bounty could go to the British Government, although Odyssey says the wreck is in international waters.

Fearing the descent of maritime salvage pirates - and with Penzance nearby, who can blame him?

- company founder John Morris refused to reveal what wreck his team has found, or its location.

Odyssey has also filed excavation for two other sites: one 100 miles west of Gibraltar and one about 65 miles east of Sardinia.

But as these claims were filed only last month, it is not thought that there would have been enough time to mount such a complex expedition yet at either site. That leaves the Land's End site, for which the claim was filed last September, as the likeliest location.

Experts in the U.S. were last night examining the 17-ton haul so far recovered from the Black Swan.

Rare coin expert Nick Bruyer, who was called in to examine part of the booty, said: 'For this colonial era, I think the find is unprecedented. …

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