Cypriot authorities seize treasure hunting ship after finding antiquities

Nicosia, Dec 27 (IANS) Cypriot authorities have seized a Bahamas-flagged treasure hunting ship after discovering aboard hundreds of antiquities.

The American owned “Odyssey Explorer” sailed into the port of Limassol on the south Cyprus shores on December 17 and was boarded on Wednesday on suspicion of illegally exploring for antiquities in the Cypriot exclusive economic zone, Xinhua reported on Saturday.

Antiquity experts found 57 plastic containers with artifacts suspended in desalinated water — the standard practice for preserving antiquities after retrieval from the sea.

A police spokesman originally said that the 18th century artifacts, believed to have been recovered from a shipwreck east of Cyprus, were not related to the eastern Mediterranean island.

Antiquity Department officials said that on closer examination hundreds of antiquity pieces of a big value were found packed in the hold of the ship.

“The counting, inspection and photographing of the antiquities will take several days,” an official was quoted as saying.

He said the antiquities included mediaeval porcelain and ceramic plates and also every-day plates and forks.

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