Shipwreck

Treasure hunter Tommy Thompson to forfeit $425,000

“Treasure hunter Tommy Thompson to forfeit $425,000”

by Kathy Lynn Gray via “Columbus Dispatch

Ex-fugitive Tommy Thompson has agreed in a plea deal to turn over $425,380 seized in his case to U.S. District Court.

The agreement, obtained by The Dispatch yesterday, was filed on Thursday as part of a criminal contempt-of-court case against the former treasure hunter. The document says that Thompson will plead guilty to one count of criminal contempt.

It also says that he will help the parties to a 2006 federal lawsuit against his shipwreck-search companies to identify and recover assets and that he will answer questions under oath about those assets, including 500 commemorative gold coins.

The coins were minted from gold bars Thompson brought up from the SS Central America shipwreck and were valued in 2007 at $1 million to $2.5 million.

Thompson also agrees in the document to answer questions and provide information to investigators, including identifying anyone who helped him while he was a fugitive.

If he pleads guilty to the single contempt charge, the document says, the U.S. attorney will not charge him with other offenses arising from the case, “including federal criminal offenses related to fraud and unjust enrichment.”

It also says that Thompson “claims to suffer from a rare medical condition that requires specialized treatment” and that the government agrees that Thompson’s medical condition will be a focus of the presentence investigation.

Thompson and his girlfriend, Alison Antekeier, were ordered in 2012 to appear before Judge Edmund A. Sargus in Columbus as part of the federal lawsuit over the treasure brought up from the shipwreck off the East Coast in the late 1980s.

Instead, the pair fled, and contempt charges were filed against them. They were returned to Columbus after they were arrested by U.S. marshals in southern Florida in January. . . .

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Judge Ends Treasure Hunter’s Attempt to Salvage Cape Cod Shipwreck

“Judge Ends Treasure Hunter’s Attempt to Salvage Cape Cod Shipwreck”

via “NBC NEWS

A treasure hunter’s effort to salvage what he calls $3 billion in platinum from a World War II shipwreck off Cape Cod has been ended by a federal judge.

Greg Brooks’ company Sea Hunters LP is no longer allowed to salvage additional items from the S.S. Port Nicholson, which was sunk by a Nazi U-boat in 1942, U.S. District Judge George Singal ruled on Wednesday.

Brooks said he believed the Port Nicholson carried platinum bars from the Soviet Union that were payment to the U.S. for war supplies. His treasure hunt had led to a criminal investigation and legal action by investors who paid him millions of dollars.

The judge also denied an attempt by a group of investors to win recovery rights, claims to what’s on the ship if anything is found. The judge wrote that evidence suggests there’s nothing valuable to salvage.

The record, the judge wrote, suggests that all that remains is “70-year-old truck tires, fenders and miscellaneous other parts and military supplies.”

The judge essentially ended Sea Hunters’ rights to any claim to potential treasure. He cited Sea Hunters’ actions “including the filing of falsified documents on this court’s docket and its inability to salvage any items of substantial value.” He issued the ruling with prejudice, meaning it’s permanent.

Brooks, whose company is based in Gorham, said he wishes he could talk in depth about the case to provide “the real story” but his attorneys want him to be silent.

“I will say one thing, I still believe the cargo is aboard the PN,” he wrote in an email. “I just cannot fight countries.”

Brooks said he located the Port Nicholson wreck in 2008. His claim of valuable precious metals aboard led to a splash in the media in 2012, but there were immediate questions about the veracity of it. He eventually put his vessel up for sale and laid off his crew.

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Australia dig unearths Batavia mutiny skeleton

“Australia dig unearths Batavia mutiny skeleton”

via “BBC News Australia

The excavated skeleton

The skeleton of a victim from one of Australia’s most famous shipwrecks has been unearthed by archaeologists.

The remains on Beacon Island, off Western Australia, date from the wreck of the Dutch East India ship the Batavia in 1629.

In the aftermath of the disaster, more than 100 survivors were murdered by a group of mutineers.

Maritime experts hope the latest find will shed new light on the episode.

The wreck site was first discovered in 1963 and a mass grave was found in 1999.

But Dr Daniel Franklin, of The University of Western Australia Centre for Forensic Science, said this was the first skeleton to be found undisturbed on Beacon Island through archaeological investigations.

He said it “represents a unique opportunity to reconstruct events surrounding this individual’s death and internment”.

Experts excavating the skeleton
The Batavia story is well-known across Australia

Jeremy Green, head of maritime archaeology at the Western Australian Museum, said they hoped to learn more about about the life of sailors on board Dutch East India Company ships.

“It is as much about knowing where the people came from, what their diet was, as well as how they died,” he said.

The skeleton is of an adolescent and two musket balls were reported to have been found nearby.

The Batavia had sailed from the Netherlands to the Dutch East Indies but veered off course and was shipwrecked in the Abrolhos Islands. . . . .

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