Friday, August 27, 2004


Legal Battle Rages over 18th Century Shipwreck "Vrouw Maria"


The bitter dispute over an eighteenth century shipwreck has moved to the Turku Court of Appeal, with divers and the state arguing over who owns the wreck.

The two-masted wooden merchant ship Vrouw Maria sank off Turku in October 1771, carrying a load of art belonging to Czarina Catherine the Great.

The scuba divers who found the wreck are appealing a ruling by the Turku Maritime Court in June. That court rejected a previous appeal by the divers and their company against the state and the Maritime Museum of Finland, who have claimed ownership of the ship.

Citing the Protection of Antiquities Act, the court ruled that it is state property and that the treasure hunters do not have rights to it.

The court also declared that the divers no longer have any right to carry out salvage on the shipwreck, which they found in June, 1999 at a depth of 40 metres. The court of appeal is expected to rule on the case next spring.

The 26-metre Vrouw Maria was en route from Amsterdam to St Petersburg when it was caught in a fierce storm in Finland's south-western archipelago. Only a few paintings from its priceless cargo were rescued before the ship went down.


See the Vrouw Maria complete story and artistic draws here.

See photos here.

Shipwreck Central online magazine

Photo: Jukka Nurminen

The ship was carrying radioactive limes, no?
The "Vrouw Maria", in 1771? I don´t have information on that.

There is reason to believe that, besides the paintings, there may have been other items of value on board the wreck: silver and lacquer works, bronze statues, ivory works, even furniture.

This is all I found on web.
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