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Cyprus

Police, antiquities department looking into deep sea searches

Larnaca police, in cooperation with the department of antiquities, are investigating a case involving deep sea explorations for the location of sunken vessels, among which is a 19th century vessel carrying a large number of Cyprus antiquities, it emerged on Friday.

To facilitate investigations, two men were arrested on Wednesday in connection with the case and remanded for four days by the Larnaca district court on Thursday.

According to daily Politis, on Wednesday Larnaca police received information that a boat belonging to a Norwegian company and registered under the Cyprus flag, with a 37-year-old employee of a company with US interests on board, was carrying out deep sea searches to locate sunken ships, including a vessel named Napried which sunk in the Cyprus EEZ in 1872.

On the same day, the customs and antiquities departments searched the boat, which they found docked at the Larnaca port, but found no antiquities on board.

Police arrested the 44-year-old captain of the boat, as well as the 37-year-old, who appears to have headed the team conducting deep-sea explorations.

A large amount of data from computer servers were confiscated for examination.

Historical sources show that the American consul in Cyprus at the time of the vessel’s sinking, Luigi Palma di Cesnola, was involved in the collection of the Cyprus antiquities stored aboard the ship.

According to Politis, the case was kept hidden from the media spotlight due to the involvement of a US company internationally renowned in deep-sea explorations, the name of which will only be made known should the two suspects be charged.

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