Odyssey Gib ‘treasure’ only of archaeological value

By Brian Reyes - Gibraltar Chronicle

As long ago as 2007, the Spanish Government was given a detailed breakdown of the archaeological artefacts that this week sparked a media frenzy in Spain on news they were still being stored in Gibraltar by Odyssey Marine Exploration. 

The press reports coincided with the return to Spain of 17 tonnes of silver coins recovered by Odyssey in 2007 and believed to have come from the wreck of a Spanish galleon, the Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes.

The suggestion was that a portion of the treasure remained on the Rock, which was the operating base for Odyssey’s vessels.

In fact, the only items that remain in Gibraltar are archaeological artefacts weighing a total of 93 kilos.

These were recovered in the Atlantic Ocean and are items of little monetary value but high archaeological importance, including pieces of a sextant, ceramics and a number of personal items. 

They include just a small number of coins and were recovered not just from the Mercedes site but from three other locations in the Atlantic too.

All could potentially yield valuable information about the various wrecks they came from.

They are stored in a sealed crate in a commercially-operated bonded warehouse. The crate has remained unopened since 2007.

Back then, Odyssey provided a complete list as well as photos of these artefacts to Spain.

The recent reports in Spain suggested that Spain would take legal steps to recover the items but so far this has not happened.

This week the Gibraltar Government said the fate of any items that may remain on the Rock was a matter for the Spanish Government and the company.

Greg Stemm OMEX Spain Mercedes Treasure odyssey marine exploration Gibraltar