Dispute Over Lake Erie Shipwreck

September 27, 2013 Updated Jun 17, 2010 at 12:03 PM EDT

By WKBW Programming

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Dispute Over Lake Erie Shipwreck

September 27, 2013 Updated Jun 17, 2010 at 12:03 PM EDT

DUNKIRK, NY (WKBW) -- Last summer, representatives from Northeast Research displayed treasures recovered from a sunken 19th-century schooner found off the Dunkirk shore in Lake Erie.

The group of shipwreck hunters had expressed plans to raise the wreck and display it in a giant tank on Buffalo's waterfront. Those plans now in jeopardy as the company's claim to the wreck may not hold-up.

A federal judge ruled recently to side with the state in the dispute over who has rights to the sunken ship, which lies about 20 miles off the Dunkirk shore.

Officials from Northeast Research tell Eyewitness News that they plan to object to the report on June 24. An overseeing judge will then conduct a hearing before issuing a final ruling.

Northeast's claim to the wreckage stems from the thought that the ship is actually the Caledonia, an early 1800's trade ship later used during the War of 1812. However without evidence to prove the ship's identity, it would be classified as abandoned and fall under control of New York State.

New York State, if ultimately given control of the wreck, wants to leave the vessel resting on the Lake Erie bottom.