Florida Keys News
Monday, April 28, 2014
Ancient wreck still a mystery

No one has emerged to challenge salvors' claims to a mystery wreck of an unidentified vessel discovered in 2012 in international waters off Key West.

A group of investors called Kahar LLC filed legal paperwork Dec. 13 in federal court in Key West, asking the court to grant them sole title to the wreck as no one else has come forward to lay claim to the vessel.

Since that time, no other person or group has challenged Kahar to the wreck, according to federal court records and Kahar's attorney, Hugh Morgan of Key West.

Meanwhile, the court has yet to grant title but Kahar is moving forward as its legal announcement of the find -- called an In Rem claim in federal admiralty law -- as well as its paid advertisement in the Oct. 7 edition of The Citizen have both gone unchallenged, Morgan said.

Should the abandoned vessel yield treasure, more claimants may emerge, but as it stands now, Kahar appears likely to be the sole salvor to the wreck.

A "relic" recovered from the ship is now in the custody of the U.S. Marshal Service and indicates that the ship is "an ancient sailing vessel," Morgan said Tuesday.

Court records posted this month suggesting more relics found on the site were a clerk's error, Morgan said.

Whatever has been salvaged from the site remains buried in mystery as Morgan has declined to comment on what was found or what it could be, which would shed light on the age of the wreck.

Morgan previously told The Citizen that salvors found what they thought to be cannonballs on the ocean floor, but that has not been verified.

"What they've found has already been submitted to the court," Morgan said. "They're still out there looking."

Kahar seeks the "abandoned sailing vessel, her tackle and armament, apparel, furniture and cargo," according to court documents.

The Kahar ship's cargo may help identify it, which would make the manifest easier to find and, in turn, give salvors a clearer picture of what they are looking for. Spain kept good records of her fleets and those records remain available for review by salvors.

Kahar is composed of President Robert Lee Harlan of Littleton, Colo., Vice President Edward Krajewski of Jamison, Pa., Secretary Tom Harlon, also of Littleton, and Joseph Krajewski, also of Jamison, according to Florida Division of Corporations records.

alinhardt@keysnews.com

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