Judge rules against Tampa-based Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc. in treasure dispute

TAMPA (AP).- An attorney for the Spanish government said a federal judge’s ruling Tuesday means Florida deep-sea explorers will have to start making plans to hand over 17 tons of silver coins and other treasure from a sunken 19th century galleon. Tampa-based Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc. found the treasure off the Portuguese coast in 2007 in the wreck of what is believed to be the Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes, which was sunk by British warships in 1804. Last year, a federal appeals court in Atlanta affirmed a Tampa judge’s ruling that Odyssey must give the treasure back to Spain. The company then requested a stay of court proceedings as it continued its legal fight to keep the treasure. In court documents, the