Friday, April 01, 2005


US company granted treasure hunt license pulling out


The Jamaica Observer
March 30, 2005

LOTT... says pull-out

ADMIRALITY Corporation, the American company that was granted a licence to search for treasures that are believed to be still aboard Spanish treasure ships that sank 300 years ago, is pulling out of Jamaica, the company said yesterday.

The company said it was being pressured by the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT) - the government's main contact with the treasure hunting company - which it claimed wanted Admirality to identify sunken ships and do a full-scale recovery at the same time.

"We can't do that now as time would not allow it, so what we would do now is identify the ships and come back after the hurricane season and do the full-scale recovery," said Clarence Lott, a vice-president of the American company.

Officials of the JNHT could not be reached last night.

Lott told the Observer last night that the pull-out was a temporary one, but warned that the company may not return if it goes elsewhere and get a more lucrative offer.

"We are now being offered 35 per cent and the government is getting 65 per cent (for treasures found), which we find as unusual.

"Why should we come back and take 35 per cent when we could go elsewhere and get 70 per cent," an obviously upset Lott said.

He said Admirality had already spent US1.7 million on the project since it came to Jamaica seven years ago and that it was costing the company US$4,500 daily to maintain it boats in Jamaica.

Lott said the company has received good cooperation from all other government agencies, except the JNHT, which he said wanted to introduce some compliance issues, which the company has agreed to, but which he said are not now necessary.

The licence allowed Admirality to salvage treasure and split the earnings between the company and government on all finds of gold and precious stones. Additionally, all artifacts that possessed cultural value would also belong to the Jamaican Government.

But last month education and culture minister, Maxine Henry Wilson said the company did not live up to the obligations of the licence and warned that they would have to follow Jamaican laws which pertained to protecting the environment as well as the cultural heritage.

Admiralty had targeted ships in the vicinity of the Jamaica Pedro Banks such as the Genovesa, a Spanish bullion vessel laden with treasures that was on its way from Cuba to Madrid went it capsized in 1730. The estimated value of the treasure aboard the Genovesa was estimated at US$1.2 billion.

In a recent interview with the Observer, Lott said that on a 14-day hunt they found three ships from 1691 that they went in search of as well as at least four other ships that they didn't know were there that are believe originated from the 1500s. It was estimated that the treasures amounted to about US$1.2 billion.

Ainsley Henriques, a former chairman of the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT), who resigned in protest when the salvage licence was granted to Admiralty, last month suggested that it was time to revoke the permit for non-performance because the technology to allow the safe salvage of the historic ships was not yet in place and the government was being mislead by the company.


E se formos nós a encontrar um tesouro... não podemos levá-lo para casa e não dizer nada a ninguém?? ehehhehe, um beijo!
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