The company says the most likely probability is that the vessel is the Spanish galleon "Nuestra Señora de la Mercedes".
The ‘Black Swan’, the name of the vessel found by the United States treasure salvage company, Odyssey, has finally been revealed to be ‘Nuestra Señora de la Mercedes’ – a Spanish galleon which went down in a battle with the British on October 5 1804 off Faro in Portugal.
The Mercedes was loaded with gold and silver, and included the wages for the soldiers and wealth of the mercenaries travelling on board.
The estimated value of the treasure recovered by Odyssey is close to 1.5 million $. Odyssey announced the find, without naming or locating the vessel, in May last year, saying they had found 17 tons of silver coins, and at the time the Spanish Government thought that La Mercedes had been found.
The judge who is hearing the case between the two sides, Mark Pizzo, had given Odyssey 30 days to reveal the boat’s identity, but the co-founder of the company told El País on Friday that there was still some doubt as to the vessel’s identity.
Legal experts now consider that Spain will now argue that they had never searched for La Mercedes, but that does not mean that the ship had been abandoned, and because it was acting for the Spanish state at the time of the battle the Spanish Government can now reclaim her and her contents.
Odyssey however consider that the boat was not engaged in military activity when she went down, and if anyone is entitled to the contents it is the family descendents of those on board.
The legal battle is set to last for months, if not years to come.