29967NEWS: British, US treasure hunters fight over War of 1812 loot in Canada
- Sep 29, 2006It seems that the War Of 1812 is still going on. See the following
news item. Anyone interested in a sailing expedition "down east" to
fetch "the thousands of coins" next summer?
British, US treasure hunters fight over War of 1812 loot in Canada
Thu Sep 21, 1:48 PM ET
OTTAWA (AFP) - Almost two centuries after a British gunship sank off
Canada's east coast, British and American treasure hunters are at odds
over who should claim its precious cargo -- spoils from the War of
The famed frigate HMS Fantome and a small commercial fleet sank in a
storm off the coast of Nova Scotia province in November 1814 with loot
from a sacked White House, Capitol Building and Treasury in
Now, Philadelphia-based Sovereign Exploration Associates (SEA)
believes it has found the sunken fleet in Canadian waters.
But the salvage firm has been denied further access to the underwater
site by Canadian authorities after the British High Commission in
Ottawa intervened to claim the wrecks and the swag.
"We received a letter from the British High Commission claiming
sovereign immunity on two ships, Fantome and (cargo ship) Tilbury,"
Wendy Barnable, a spokeswoman for the Nova Scotia ministry of tourism,
culture and heritage, told AFP.
"They claimed that because these ships weren't captured or weren't
surrendered before sinking, they remain the property of the British
government," she said.
"We acknowledged the UK's claim to its military property and denied
(SEA) a heritage research permit needed for (salvage) work to
continue," Barnable said.
SEA president and chief executive Robert Baca said in a statement that
his firm is willing to work with "multiple" governments to "coordinate
a historic recovery of this significance."
"The historical importance of the Fantome and associated vessels to
the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada must be addressed,"
But the company's offer has gone unanswered since its divers were
banned from the site in late August.
London has not said whether it plans to try to recover the loot.
In August 1814, British soldiers invaded Washington and looted the
White House and the Capitol Building, setting fire to both. A
rainstorm prevented the rest of the city from burning.
SEA said its divers had observed "flatware, artifacts, ship fittings
and thousands of coins" at the underwater site near Cape Breton.
- Next post in topic >>