France Challenges Michigan over 330-Year-Old Sunken Ship

Sunday, February 01, 2009
Le Griffon

On September 18, 1679, the French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, sieur de La Salle sent a crew of six to sail his ship, Le Griffon, from Washington Island in Lake Michigan to Niagara with a load of furs and other goods. Although its fate is still unknown, it is assumed that Le Griffon sank in a storm. More than 320 years later, in 2001, American diver Steve Libert discovered what might be the remains of Le Griffon. The state of Michigan claimed that it owned the legal rights to all shipwrecks found in the area. However, on January 27, 2009, the French government, supporting Libert, filed a claim in the U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids, Michigan, that it still owns the ship because, back in the 17th century, La Salle’s expedition was not a commercial venture, but undertaken on behalf of the French crown.

France Asserts Ownership of Griffin Shipwreck (by John Flesher, Associated Press)
Mystery of the Griffon: Search for Great Lakes Oldest Shipwreck (by Peggy-Walsh-Sarnecki, Cyber Diver News Network)


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