An Unidentified Shipwrecked Vessel Was Found Off The Coast Of Alabama

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In 2004, an unidentified shipwrecked vessel was found off the coast of Alabama. The wreck was discovered by the company Fathom Exploration, L.L.C., who then claimed possession of the ship. The company further intended to salvage what it could from the remains, and hoped to prevent others from salvaging in the same area. The identity of the ship was initially unknown, though it was believed to either be the Amstel, a British vessel, or the Robert H. Dixey, a clipper ship. Because of this, several parties filed claims over the area in question: those who claimed to have a connection to the Dixey, and Fathom Exploration, LLC over the Amstel, leading to the case titled Fathom Exploration, L.L.C.,Plaintiff, v. the Unidentified Shipwrecked Vessel or Vessels that was decided in 2012. The ship was determined not to be the Dixey; therefore, those who had placed claims of ownership under its name did not have a valid platform to argue upon. However, Fathom still could not assure its ownership of the wrecked vessel; based on the Abandoned Shipwreck Act of 1987, if evidence existed that the ship had been abandoned when it sank into submerged waters of the United States, then the United States would hold title to the shipwreck. Ultimately, the decision of the Court stated the “plaintiff [was] ordered to continue diligently performing the archival research and diving activities”(CITE). This particular case provides insight into how to handle situations where the identity of a shipwrecked

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