- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 20, 2007

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed a counterclaim to a lawsuit relating to the discovery of the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley, the first sub in history to sink an enemy warship.

Underwater archaeologist E. Lee Spence said he suffered as much as $309 million in damages because the discovery was credited to author Clive Cussler.

National Underwater & Marine Agency, a group headed by Mr. Cussler, sued Mr. Spence six years ago. The agency’s suit says that Mr. Spence’s continuing claim that he found the sub injured the reputation of the agency and the divers Mr. Cussler hired.

The South Carolina Hunley Commission has credited the agency and the divers with finding the sub near Charleston 12 years ago.

Mr. Spence countersued in 2002, asking the court to declare him the discoverer, but Senior U.S. District Judge Sol Blatt Jr. dismissed the countersuit this week, saying the three-year statute of limitations on admiralty claims had expired.

The 40-foot-long Hunley sank the Union blockade ship Housatonic on Feb. 17, 1864. The sub sank as well and was finally located in 1995.

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