Loot in Nova Scotia salvage dispute

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A U.S. treasure hunter's bid to scavenge a famed War of 1812-era shipwreck off the coast of Nova Scotia has met a storm of protest from underwater experts, who say the province's rich maritime history is being pillaged by modern-day pirates.

HMS Fantome was laden with loot believed to have been stolen from Washington -- including from the White House and Capitol building -- when it ran aground on a treacherous shoal south of Halifax in November, 1814. The crew of the British naval vessel survived, but its cargo was lost to the stormy sea. . .

Nova Scotia is the only [Canadian] province that permits the private sector to mine sunken ships for their potential treasures. . .

In mid-December, the U.S. State Department and the Smithsonian Institution weighed in, warning that if the wreck site does contain American artifacts, they should be returned to the U.S. government.

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