Spain and Britain to dive for treasure on 1694 wreck

MADRID (Reuters) - Three hundred years after the British warship Sussex sank in a storm off southern Spain, researchers are preparing to dive to the site to see if it was carrying a fortune in gold coins.

Spain and Britain said on Friday they had agreed to start underwater exploration to find the ship that sank near Gibraltar in 1694. Any treasure will be claimed by Britain, the Spanish foreign ministry said in a statement.

According to the Council for British Archaeology’s (CBA) website, the Sussex was taking money to the Duke of Savoy in Italy in exchange for his help in the war against French King Louis XIV.

It says the booty could now be worth hundreds of millions of dollars (pounds).

The CBA has criticised a deal Britain has done with Florida-based salvage company Odyssey Marine Exploration, which will run the dives under which Odyssey will receive a share of whatever is found on the wreck.