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Gibraltar clash over pounds 2bn treasure
Ben Sills in Madrid
28 March 2005
The Guardian

The Strait of Gibraltar has been the scene of numerous skirmishes between the British and Spanish navies, and now the two nations are sparring again - this time over the wreck of an English warship packed to the gunwales with treasure.

HMS Sussex has lain undisturbed on the seabed for more than 300 years, but since researchers discovered the ship was carrying billions of pounds of English gold and silver, it has become the focus of a bitter dispute as the Spanish authorities try to frustrate the attempts of a private company to locate it and start salvage work on behalf of Britain.

International law gives UK authorities jurisdiction over the wrecks of British ships wherever they might lie, and this month the UK government gave permission to an American exploration company, Odyssey Marine Exploration, to salvage the Sussex.

But the regional government of Andalucia claims that Odyssey also needs permission from Spain to carry out exploration in Spanish waters and has sent out coastal patrols to disrupt the salvage operation.

The Sussex sank with 12 other ships when a storm blew up on their first night out of Gibraltar. The ship was swamped as its commander, Admiral Sir Francis Wheeler, tried to avoid being swept on to the rocks. The admiral's body was washed up on a Spanish beach two days later.

Documents uncovered in 1995 revealed that the ship was carrying a payment for the Duke of Savoy, a key ally in Britain's war against the French. It is estimated that the treasure it carried would be worth more than pounds 2bn today.

Odyssey has struck a deal with the British under which it can keep a share of the treasure in return for conducting the salvage operation. It will get 80% of the first pounds 45m re covered, half of everything up to pounds 500m and 40% of everything above that. Shares in the company have nearly doubled in price over the past month.

Odyssey's explorers have combed 400 square miles of the Mediterranean seabed using sonar equipment and deep-water robots. They discovered 418 possible targets, including Roman and Phoenician ships more than 2,000 years old. But only one of the wrecks had cannons. Odyssey is confident it has the right wreck, but other archaeologists have expressed doubts.

The Guardia Civil has sent out patrols to disrupt the operation.
 

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Gibraltar has always driven the Spanish crazy!! However, just over the Gibraltar Straits in Morocco are two little Spanish enclaves, Ceuta and Mellila, both of which cut into Morocco. If Spain ever got Gibraltar from the British, more than likely the Moroccons would demand Ceuta and Mellila.
 

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Technically the Moroccans don't need to swim all the way to the Iberian peninsula but just to these islands to enter the EU?
 

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¡Viva el metro!
DavoR
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harkerb said:
Hey, it would have been interesting to see how Bush would have climbed up the walls, had Cuba a piece on the american mainland!
:sleepy:
 

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Negotiations with Spain make life easier for developers.
17 October 2005
Lloyd's List

THE new climate of dialogue between Gibraltar and Spain has already benefited one property developer on the Rock, which this summer shipped thousands of tonnes of rock-fill across the border by sea.

Anywhere else the operation would barely have merited a mention in the local newspaper, but in this southernmost corner of the Iberian Peninsula it was significant.

While bunker barges operating out of Gibraltar and Algeciras have long blurred any territorial issues out in the bay, ships ferrying freight or passengers across from one port to the other were virtually unheard of.

The luxury development project known as The Island involved reclaiming land inside the port area and directly in front of an existing marina known as Queensway Quay.

The Island, which is still under construction, centres on 19 luxury houses worth around £1.8m each, equipped with private berths and covering a total area of around 13,000 sq m.

The first phase was to build a new breakwater that would act as the backbone to the area of newly reclaimed land on which the houses would be built.

The side-stone dumping vessel Ham 601, operated by Dutch dredging specialist Van Oord, shipped core material from La Linea to Gibraltar, a journey of no more than two kilometres.

The material was loaded into four cargo areas on either side of the vessel and then carefully and methodically discharged into the sea on the reclamation site.

The vessel made four voyages a day and over several weeks transported 150,000 tonnes of rock-fill to create the necessary landmass.

By bringing the material in by sea instead of road, the developers are avoiding a potentially adverse impact on traffic and the environment.

While Van Oord carried out the initial reclamation phase, Spanish company DRACE, part of the Acciona group, was working on construction of 11 concrete caissons that would form a key element of The Island’s foundations.

In another first, the concrete casings were built in Crinavis, on the Spanish side at the northern end of the Bay of Gibraltar, and towed by sea across to the Rock once they were ready.

The caissons are modest constructions by comparison to some of the other work that has been carried out in Crinavis.

Algeciras has carved a niche for itself in the construction of maritime structures made from concrete and some of these projects are of truly mammoth proportions.

It started with the world’s largest floating dock, which was built in Crinavis and is now part of the port of La Condamine in Monaco. It weighed 165,000 tonnes, measured 325 m in length and took 700 people three years to build.

The caissons for the The Island in Gibraltar may appear minuscule by comparison.

Their significance however lies not in their size, but in the way that they signal closer ties between two neighbouring ports that, although just a few kilometres removed, were once worlds apart.
 
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