Judge Says Explorers Must Give Treasures To Spain

Published February 17, 2012 9:00PM (EST)

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that the Spanish government will take control of a vast shipwreck treasure found by Florida deep sea explorers.

U.S. Magistrate Judge James Pizzo approved Spain's plan Friday to take possession of the 594,000 silver coins and other artifacts salvaged from the wreck of Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes in 2007.

James Goold, an attorney for the Spanish government, said that the coins will likely be moved by Feb. 24.

A U.S. district court and federal appeals courts ruled against Odyssey in its bid to keep most or all of the treasure. Spain contended that it never surrendered ownership of the sunken galleon Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes.

By Salon Staff

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