clipper ship Robert H. Dixey
By Brendan Kirby - Press-Register
Their work slowed by last year’s oil spill and typical winter weather, explorers who discovered four shipwrecks near the mouth of Mobile Bay seven years ago plan to recover additional artifacts in the coming months, attorneys indicated last week.
A Gulf Shores company called Fathom Exploration filed a federal lawsuit in 2004 in an attempt to secure the four underwater spots.
The legal proceedings have been on hold since then while Fathom Exploration tries to analyze the artifacts.
If the sites can be positively identified, a judge will decide who has rights to the artifacts — the state, the company or a Mobile man who believes one of the sites might be the 19th century clipper ship Robert H. Dixey. He is a descendent of the ship’s captain.
The parties file reports every three months updating the court on their progress. In the most recent report, attorneys stated that the BP oil spill in the summer curtailed Fathom’s offshore activities.
Weather and sea conditions also limited activity during the winter, the attorneys wrote.
“As we move deeper into the spring and early summer season, weather conditions typically improve and allow for the safe resumption of offshore work,” the joint statement read.