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Alabama’s state historical commission apparently will retain control of the last U.S. slave ship, the Clotilda.
Friday was the deadline for any potential owners to claim the wreckage of the wooden schooner, which was burned near Mobile after illegally bringing about 110 captives to Alabama from Africa in 1860.
Because no one claimed the ship’s remains, the state can now move forward in federal court to take permanent possession.
Researchers identified the wreckage of the ship earlier this year north of Mobile.
Officials say they’re unsure how much of the Clotilda remains, but they believe at least some of the hull could be intact in the muddy bottom of the Mobile River near an island.
It’s unclear what might be done with the wreckage or whether it can be raised.