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Shipwreck Explorer and State of Michigan in a Standoff

Andrew Norton

Steve Libert believes he has discovered one of the Great Lakes most coveted shipwrecks. The Griffon is the "holy grail" of Great Lakes shipwrecks. The mystery that surrounds its fate and the fact that it was the first full-sized sailing vessel on the upper Great Lakes make it a much sought after and debated shipwreck. Libert is the explorer who believes he has indeed found the wreck of the Griffon. Apparently, finding it was the easy part. Documenting and exploring it are proving to be quite difficult.

The State of Michigan and Libert have been in court trying to see who gets to do the research. The State of Michigan claims all wrecks within its part of the Great Lakes. Libert will not tell the state where the wreck is as he fears all of his work will be for naught and the state will push him aside.

Does the State of Michigan have the funds available to research and raise what might be the Griffon? Libert believes that he has the funding available and that it will be difficult for the state to find the money necessary for proper research and raising of the vessel.

It is a shame that this wreck was discovered in 2001 and that no one has been able to research and explore the vessel to make a determination if it is indeed the Griffon. Wouldn't it be great if a private individual (or foundation) could work with the State of Michigan and document, preserve, and raise this ship for the entire state to enjoy? I cannot even imagine the money being spent on both sides (Libert and Michigan) in court to continue this fight.

Libert has hired marine archaeologists through his company, Great Lakes Exploration Group, and they will be giving an 11 a.m. press conference in Charlevoix today. They will be presenting their findings on the wreckage of the Griffon.

Via the Detroit Free Press

For more information on the Griffon -