TAMPA, Florida -- Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. (NasdaqCM: OMEX), pioneers in the field of deep-ocean shipwreck exploration has announced that U.S. Federal Court Judge Steven Merryday has granted Odyssey's Motion for Extension of Time to Respond to Report and Recommendation. He will allow Odyssey and other claimants until July 6, 2009 to file written objections to Magistrate Mark Pizzo's recommendation that Spain's Motion to Dismiss the "Black Swan" case be granted. Judge Merryday will then examine the recommendation as well as all objections and responses in the case before making his ruling on the motion to dismiss.
"The Magistrate's report fails to acknowledge the absence of a vessel at the "Black Swan" site or the commercial nature of the Mercedes' mission at the time of her demise, which would legally nullify the claim to sovereign immunity on that vessel. It also ignores prior case law that separates cargo from the vessel in similar cases," stated Melinda MacConnel, Odyssey's Vice President and General Counsel. "Evidence is clear and un-refuted that the majority of coin cargo being transported on the Mercedes belonged to private merchants, this portion of the cargo aboard the Mercedes never belonged to the Spanish Government. We are looking forward to submitting our formal objections to the court within the time allotted and would welcome the opportunity to cross-examine Spain's witnesses.
"While the Magistrate's initial recommendation is disappointing, I have confidence in our legal system whether at this stage of the proceedings or during subsequent appeal if necessary," said Greg Stemm, Odyssey's CEO. "In the meantime, the Odyssey exploration team continues to focus on other projects, including several undisputed merchant shipwrecks without any issues relating to sovereign immunity. We have two ships out working in the "Atlas" search area, we're planning operations off the US East Coast later this year and there are several other potential shipwreck projects that may also commence in 2009. We are also working with the UK government on an agreement for the HMS Victory project."
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