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Lawyers for Alabama, exploration firm continue negotiations over Gulf shipwreck

Category: Archaeological
Created on Monday, 18 June 2012 13:13

fathom-explorationDavid Anderson, president of Fathom Exploration, poses for a portrait after a news conference at LuLu's at Homeport Marina on Thursday, June 2, 2011, with a bronze bell. The bell was recovered from the wreckage of the previously unknown shipwreck of the British Bark Amstel. Fathom Exploration, working in close partnership with the Alabama Historical Commission, has been trying to preserve artifacts from the wreck site. (Press-Register/Bill Starling)

By Brendan Kirby, Press-Register

MOBILE, Alabama — Lawyers for the state of Alabama and a Gulf Shores exploration company are continuing efforts to strike an agreement over how to divvy up historical treasures that might emerge from a shipwreck the company uncovered 8 years ago.

The company, Fathom Exploration, filed a lawsuit in 2004 to stake its claim on the shipwreck near the mouth of Mobile Bay. The legal action has been on hold for years as the company tried to identify the ship, which could affect ownership.

In a report to Chief U.S. District Judge William Steele, both sides stated that they have not reached any accord.

“Although Fathom and the state of Alabama are opponents in an effort to protect their interests, they have worked closely together and in cooperation throughout the period of this action,” the joint report states.

The company said last summer that it believes the shipwreck is the British barque Amstel. Steele endorsed that conclusion in March, turning aside a claim by descendants of the captain of the clipper ship Robert H. Dixey.

Last week’s joint report to the court stated that Fathom Exploration continues to work closely with the Alabama Historical Commission.

“No contract can be finalized until all notices to potential new claimants have been completed and any new claimants have had their claims adjudicated, if necessary,” the report states. 


Courtesy Alabama Local

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