Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc.'s 17 ton-haul (15,400 kilograms) of sunken treasure from the Atlantic Ocean originated in Peru and must be returned, the Andean country's Foreign Minister Jose Garcia Belaunde said today.
The 500,000 gold coins on Spanish warship Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes were minted in Peru, at the time a Spanish colony, Garcia Belaunde said. The ship was sunk by the British navy in 1804.
"This gives us ownership, as this was and continues to be Peruvian territory," Garcia Belaunde said at a press conference.
"It belongs to us through the principle of succession of states." Spain has also filed a claim for the treasure.
Odyssey was little changed at $4.77 in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. The stock is down 23 percent this year.
The case is Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc. v. The Unidentified Shipwrecked Vessel, 07cv614, U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida (Tampa)