british Merchant Royal (Black Swan) (+1641)
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general
nationality british
purpose transport
type galleon
propulsion sailing ship
date built 1627
status
unknown
details
weight (tons) 700  bm
dimensions
material wood
rigging
armament 32 bronze cannons
speed  
about the loss
cause lost water leakage (flooding)
date lost 23/09/1641  [dd/mm/yyyy]
casualties  max.18rank: 639
about people
builder
Royal Navy Deptford Dockyard, Deptford (Thames)
owner
English Merchants
captain John Limbrey
no. of crew 58
about the wreck
depth (m.)
orientation
protected
war grave
updates
entered by Allen Tony
entered 21/09/2007
last update Jan Lettens
last update 23/09/2011
 
  Position  
 
Allen Tony21/09/2007
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News
 Jan Lettens   17/01/2011

Odyssey press to have Spain's case struck off

Odyssey Marine Exploration, the US deep-ocean exploration company, has filed a Motion to Strike a brief filed by the United States government in support of Spain in the ‘Black Swan’ case. The case is currently pending in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in the US, where Odyssey appealing a lower court’s decision to order the company to return the ‘Black Swan’ treasure to Spain. If the US motion is not struck out, Odyssey has asked the court to direct the US government to amend its statement to accurately reflect its interest in the case. The latest filing follows a number of revelations about the Black Swan case detailed in leaked diplomatic cables published by the whistleblower website Wikileaks last month. Odyssey said the released cables suggest that the US State Department offered special assistance to Spanish officials in the ‘Black Swan’ case in exchange for assistance in acquiring, on behalf of a US citizen, a French painting confiscated by the Nazis during World War II and now on display in a museum in Madrid. “We have brought to the Court’s attention the evidence suggesting that the involvement of the U.S. Executive Branch in the ‘Black Swan’ case goes beyond its interest in interpreting applicable laws,” said Melinda MacConnel, Odyssey vice president and general counsel.

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copyright: Gianni Dagli Orti
 
 copyright: Gianni Dagli Orti copyright: UK Hydrographic Office   
 
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  History  
 
Allen Tony21/09/2007Salvage companies have spent years looking for the wreck of the Merchant Royal, known as the "Eldorado of the seas´, which sank in bad weather near the Isles of Scilly in 1641. Odyssey´s Marines court filings include latitude and longitude coordinates. The find is thought to be centered around 49°25´N and 6°00´W with a radius of 5 nautical miles.

HISTORY OF THE MERCHANT ROYAL

The 700-ton Merchant Royal was built in Deptford, London, in 1627. She was owned by English merchants when she set sail from the Spanish colonies of San Domingo, in the West Indies, captained by John Limbrey. In January 1637, armed with 32 bronze canons, she arrived successfully in Cadiz, southern Spain, where she rested until 1640. ...

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  History  
 
Allen Tony21/09/2007Salvage companies have spent years looking for the wreck of the Merchant Royal, known as the "Eldorado of the seas´, which sank in bad weather near the Isles of Scilly in 1641. Odyssey´s Marines court filings include latitude and longitude coordinates. The find is thought to be centered around 49°25´N and 6°00´W with a radius of 5 nautical miles.

HISTORY OF THE MERCHANT ROYAL

The 700-ton Merchant Royal was built in Deptford, London, in 1627. She was owned by English merchants when she set sail from the Spanish colonies of San Domingo, in the West Indies, captained by John Limbrey. In January 1637, armed with 32 bronze canons, she arrived successfully in Cadiz, southern Spain, where she rested until 1640.

But during that time she began to leak badly and underwent extensive repairs. The following summer, a ship employed to transport Spain´s colonial loot - silver coins, ingots and gold - caught fire. The bullion had been put aside to pay for Spain´s 30,000 strong army, which were stationed at the time in Flanders. Captain Limbrey volunteered to take the gold to Antwerp, on his way back to London.

The Merchant Royal set sail in late August 1641, trailed by her sister ship, the Dover Merchant. But during the journey she began to leak and rescuers were unable reach her in time. Eighteen men drowned and 40 crew, including Capt Limbrey, had to be rescued by the Dover Merchant. The loss of the treasure made headlines. Back in 1641, the ship´s hold was equivalent to one-third of the national exchequer. Samuel Pepys refers to the event in his diary and proceedings in the House of Commons were interrupted for the news to be announced.

Several salvage teams have sought to recover her treasure over the years but all have failed until now. There was confusion as to where she had actually gone down, with conflicting eyewitness reports. Original papers relating to her final resting place state that witnesses on another ship calculated that it sank ten leagues (around 35 miles) from Land´s End. Odyssey Marine hunters have already recovered 17 tons of 17th-century gold and silver coins from the wreck - codenamed the Black Swan - worth at least £250million
 
 
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Merchant Royal (Black Swan) (+1641)
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