Odyssey's Golden Treasure on Its Way to Spain

Rodney Pate, a Transit Alert employee with the 6th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, marshalls in a Spanish C-130, Feb. 23, 2012, at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. MacDill hosted two Spanish C-130 aircraft dispatched by the Spanish government to retrieve Spanish coins that were lost at sea in the 19th century. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Basic David Tracy)
TAMPA (2012-2-24) -

More than 17 tons of shipwreck treasure is being flown from Tampa’s MacDill Air Force Base to Spain.

Tampa-based Odyssey Marine Exploration recovered the estimated $500 million worth of gold and silver coins in 2007. The treasure hunting corporation found the shipwreck of a Spanish galleon sunk by British warships off the coast of Portugal in 1804. The ship laden with gold had been nearing the end of its voyage from South America when attacked and sunk.

The Spanish government laid claim to the Odyssey’s treasure and after a legal battle that lasted almost five years, Spain won ownership of the recovered treasure. The treasure hunters brought the coins to the airbase for transfer. Airmen from MacDill helped ensure the gold was loaded safely.

Friday, nearly 600,000 coins and artifacts were then flown out of Tampa’s military base aboard two Spanish Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft.

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