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Odyssey Marine Exploration Challenges Claims By Spain In Its "Black Swan" Appellate Reply

TAMPA, Fla., Aug. 19, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. (Nasdaq:OMEX) today filed its Reply to Spain's Response in the " Black Swan" case, currently pending in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta, Georgia. This is expected to be the last round of written pleadings at the appellate court level. Odyssey's filing is available for review at http://www.shipwreck.net/blackswanlegal.php

Odyssey is appealing the district court's dismissal of the case based on the court's finding of lack of federal jurisdiction. Odyssey's Reply presents the following documented facts that debunk the misrepresentations made by Spain that contributed to the clear error in the district court's earlier ruling and that have been repeated in Spain's appellate Response:

  • there was no vessel and there were no human remains located at the " Black Swan" site;
  • Odyssey acted legally and appropriately in the recovery of the " Black Swan" artifacts;
  • evidence, including accounts from Spain's "experts" and Spain's own contemporaneous diplomatic communications, prove that the Mercedes (the vessel Spain associates with the site) was on a commercial mission on her final voyage – a fact that legally voids Spain's claim of immunity under settled international law and conventions;
  • a distinction between cargo and vessel is allowed and even required by settled admiralty law; and
  • according to the manifest of the Mercedes, the vast majority of cargo on board did not even belong to Spain – even Spain concedes the cargo was "articles of Spanish citizens."

"The emotional and inflammatory language used in Spain's appellate response serves to distract from the truth and the relevant legal issues. The story Spain tells mirrors the one it told at the district level, where the court made clearly erroneous factual findings," said Melinda MacConnel, Odyssey Vice President and General Counsel. "Spain's filing has painted a negative portrait of Odyssey, but the company has always acted in full compliance with the letter and spirit of the law. We brought the artifacts to the U.S. courts for proper adjudication of claims, but we didn't even receive a hearing on the jurisdictional facts. If the court did not have jurisdiction, it would have no legal authority to order transfer of the property to Spain, who did not have possession of the coins.

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