Thursday, May 7, 2015

Blackbeard Shipwreck Mediation

Nearly 300 years after Blackbeard the Pirate was shipwrecked off the North Carolina coast, a treasure-hunting company is battling that state over "treasure" linked to his vessel. The claims really involve some $14 million in disputed lost revenue and contract violations. Intersal Inc. of Florida, which originally discovered the wreck, filed a petition last month against North Carolina's Department of Cultural Resources. It claims breach of contract in the state's displaying images of artifacts from the flagship Queen Anne's Revenge on websites without a time code stamp or watermark. North Carolina actually owns the ship's contents and has created a tourist industry since its initial discovery in 1996. The legal dispute is pending with the Office of Administrative Hearing and is being sent to mediation next month to avoid a hearing before an administrative law judge. While North Carolina denies the allegations, saying they have no merit, Intersal has issues with rights related to filming the wreck's recovery, as well as study and reproduction of its artifacts. Intersal says the state continues to violate the terms of a 2013 renewal of a 1998 agreement for exclusive media rights, by improperly publishing or improperly permitting the publication of photos and video of the wreck and treasures. Reportedly, wrecks in state waters, such as Blackbeard's ship, belong to a state, even if they are undiscovered. Blackbeard was a notorious sea robber who plagued the shipping lanes of North America and the Caribbean. His ship ran aground in the early 1700s and its remains lie in shallow water about a mile offshore North Carolina. Researchers have been excavating it since the late 1990s and have recovered anchors, cannons and other items. Normally, companies that find such wrecks split any treasures found. In this case, researchers believe that most valuables on board Queen Anne's Revenge were removed before the ship went under which is why a media deal was made. See news stories here-- and and the educational website--