Odyssey Provides Operational Updates on SS Gairsoppa Recovery, Initial Silver Recovery, and HMS Victory
Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. (Nasdaq:OMEX), pioneers in the field of deep-ocean exploration, provided an operational update relating to the activities of the three ships which are currently engaged in Odyssey projects.
The chartered vessel working on the SS Gairsoppa project, the Seabed Worker, will make a scheduled port call in Cork, Ireland, beginning August 15, 2012. After taking on fuel, supplies and changing personnel, the Seabed Worker will immediately return to the site to continue recovery operations. In accordance with the strategic recovery plan, no materials recovered from the shipwreck site will be landed during this port call in Ireland. Consistent with the agreement with the UK Government, the company will not comment on the status of operations or recovery of cargo until any additional silver recovered has been transported to the secure facility in the United Kingdom.
“We have elected to make our regularly scheduled crew change port call in Ireland on this trip as the port of Cork is much closer to the Gairsoppa shipwreck site than the UK port we will use for offloading cargo. Scheduling this port call here gives us an additional two, or more, working days on the site during the best weather period of the year,” said Mark Gordon, Odyssey President and COO, “Also, there is already more than a 10 week accumulation of silver in the smelting and monetization process from the first load of silver delivered during the last port call.”
Preliminary assay results, testing a sample of the silver already recovered and delivered, have been received. A sample of 30 of the silver ingots reveals silver (Ag) composition of between 91.661% and 92.051% which is exactly in line with our expectations. Two of the bars were also tested for gold (Au) content. As these bars registered between .030% and .040% gold, additional bars will be assayed and steps will be taken to recover the gold during the processing.
Odyssey also reported today on progress with the Victory project. The Company has concluded the archaeological pre-disturbance phases outlined in the Project Design which were to be completed prior to the recovery of artifacts. A detailed site map is being compiled and will feature extensive documentation relating to the site formation obtained with the use of a number of specialized remote sensing technologies and photomosaic imagery. Mapping and identification of anomalies lying outside the site have also been completed. This process has provided a better understanding of the extent of the site, including identification and recording of artifacts associated with the shipwreck that have either been dragged off the site by trawlers or deposited during the sinking process. The Odyssey Explorer will be engaged in additional search and target inspection operations as a continuation of its “Atlas” project while awaiting instructions from the Maritime Heritage Foundation to proceed to the next phases of operations on the Victory site.
The Company also announced that the Dorado Discovery has been moved to Ensenada, Mexico to complete scheduled maintenance and upgrades prior to beginning its next project which is scheduled to commence in September.
About the SS Gairsoppa
Odyssey is conducting the Gairsoppa project under contract with the UK Department for Transport. Under the terms of the agreement, which follows standard commercial practices, Odyssey bears the risk of search and recovery and retains 80% of the net salved value of theGairsoppa silver cargo after recovering its expenses. The contract was awarded to Odyssey following a competitive tender process.
The Gairsoppa was a merchant ship torpedoed by a German U-boat during World War II. During the War, the UK Government insured privately owned cargo under their War Risk Insurance program. After making an insurance payment of approximately £325,000 (1941 value) to the owners of the silver cargo lost aboard the Gairsoppa, the UK Government became the owners of the insured cargo. As some sources, including “Lloyd’s War Losses” indicate a total silver cargo worth £600,000 (1941 value) lost aboard the Gairsoppa, there may have been additional government-owned silver cargo aboard that would have been self-insured.
Odyssey commenced recovery operations utilizing the chartered 291-foot Seabed Worker in late May after completing a series of reconnaissance dives earlier in the year. Odyssey has contracted JBR Recovery Limited, one of Europe’s leading silver recovery and precious metal processing specialists, to support the logistics, refining and monetization of the silver cargo recovered.
About HMS Victory
In 2008, Odyssey discovered HMS Victory (lost 1744) nearly 100km from where the ship was historically believed to have wrecked. The direct predecessor and inspiration behind Nelson’s flagship, Balchin’s Victory was the mightiest and most technically advanced vessel of her age. She was lost during a storm with all hands and was the last Royal Navy warship to be lost at sea with a complete complement of bronze cannon.
After period of joint consultation between the UK Ministry of Defense and the UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and a public consultation period, the title to HMS Victory was transferred to the Maritime Heritage Foundation in January 2012. The Foundation is a charity established to locate shipwrecks, investigate, recover and preserve artifacts to the highest archaeological standards and to promote knowledge and understanding of Britain’s maritime heritage, has now assumed responsibility for the future management of the wreck site. The Foundation has contracted with Odyssey to provide a full range of archaeological, recovery, conservation and other services.
About Swire Seabed/Seabed Worker
Swire Seabed AS represents experience and ultra modern equipment for deep waters in the subsea industry. The Company provides high quality services within Inspection, Maintenance & Repair, Construction Support and Subsea Decommissioning. In addition Seabed has expertise, experience and special equipment for deep sea wreck salvage. Seabed operates worldwide with the two vessels Seabed Worker and Seabed Prince.
Seabed Worker is an 88 m Multi Purpose Support Vessel. As a standard spread the vessel has accommodation for 66 people, Class 2 DP System, 650 m2 deck area, Voith Schneider propulsion with active roll stabilization, active heave compensated 100 Te offshore crane, a Perry Slingsby 4000 m XLX ROV and a Schilling HD 5000m (moonpol) ROV. For the salvage operations in 2012 the Seabed Worker is also fitted with specialized equipment.
About Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc.
Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. (Nasdaq:OMEX) is engaged in deep-ocean exploration using innovative methods and state-of-the-art technology. The Company is a world leader in shipwreck exploration, conducting extensive search and archaeological recovery operations on deep-ocean shipwrecks around the world. Odyssey also has a minority ownership stake in Neptune Minerals, a company focused on discovering and commercializing high-value mineral deposits from the ocean floor and in Chatham Rock Phosphate, Ltd, a company focused on discovering and commercializing seabed deposits of rock phosphate and other minerals. Odyssey also provides contracting services, including proprietary deep-ocean expertise and equipment, to governments and companies around the world.
Odyssey offers various ways to share in the excitement of deep-ocean exploration by making shipwreck treasures and artifacts available to the general public, students, and collectors through its webstore, exhibits, books, television, merchandise, educational programs and virtual museum located at www.OdysseysVirtualMuseum.com. The company also maintains a Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/
The public will have the opportunity to share in the excitement of Odyssey’s 2012 recovery operations when television specials produced by JWM Productions premiere on Discovery Channel in the United States and Channel 5 in the United Kingdom.
Information about Odyssey’s project, including pictures of the operation, can be found on Odyssey’s website: http://www.shipwreck.net/
Following previous successful engagements in New Orleans, Tampa, Detroit, Oklahoma City, Charlotte, Baltimore, Sarasota, and San Antonio, Odyssey’s SHIPWRECK! exhibit is currently on display at the Mid-America Science Museum in Hot Springs, AR, until September 4, 2012.
For details on Odyssey’s activities and its commitment to the preservation of maritime heritage please visit www.shipwreck.net.