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Odyssey Marine Exploration to start commodity wreck program

by Odyssey Marine Exploration on 21 Sep 2012
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Odyssey Marine Exploration are pioneers in the field of deep-ocean exploration and have today announced that the company has received project approval and salvage contracts from ship owners for a major multi-year commodity shipwreck program with a potential total recovery value of more than $230 million based upon current commodity prices and related assumptions.

The company has negotiated salvage contracts with ship owners that will award 90% of the net recovered cargo value to Odyssey for four separate deep-ocean shipwrecks carrying valuable commodities when they sank. There are additional valuable shipwrecks that do not require salvage agreements that can be added to the program and undertaken while Odyssey has a ship and equipment nearby.

Planning is underway to assemble the necessary ship and equipment for the recovery of these cargoes, which is targeted to begin as early as the second quarter of 2013. Search operations are anticipated to be completed very quickly with the recovery vessel so operations can flow directly from confirmation to cargo recovery. In addition, Odyssey has received an expression of interest from an investment group interest in providing non-dilutive funding to take the project to the stage where it will generate positive cash flow. Odyssey will evaluate this proposal, other potential non-dilutive options, and the possibility of self-funding the operation to determine the best course of action for long-term shareholder value.

'The work that we’ve been doing this summer on the Gairsoppa and Mantola projects confirms that our team can successfully conduct recovery operations on modern metal shipwrecks in the deep ocean. Based on this experience, we’ll be adding some equipment to our suite of tools and improving others,' said Mark Gordon, Odyssey President and COO. 'This program is another opportunity to diversify our project and capabilities portfolio, which also includes archaeological excavation, conservation and documentation of historic shipwrecks as well as mineral exploration in the deep ocean.'

In addition, Odyssey recently acquired a large private research archive that features a significant amount of primary historical data, including manifests, cargo contracts and other documents previously unavailable to the public or researchers. This huge collection of documents includes approximately 3,200 shipwrecks in Europe, the Americas, Mediterranean Sea, Asia and Indian Ocean regions. The cargoes listed include gold, silver, commodity metals and other cargo – some of which are not represented in Odyssey’s own databases.

'We were very fortunate to be able to acquire this archive in a private transaction' said Greg Stemm, Odyssey CEO. 'The company that created this archive over a period of more than 50 years was one of the world’s most successful commodity and gold salvage companies. Their archive is filled with valuable cargoes that were beyond their reach but are well within the capabilities of our technology. Our research department is currently analyzing and organizing the collection, but we’ve already come across some very interesting potential targets that we weren’t aware carried valuable cargoes. We’re looking forward to using this research in the development of future projects and to increase data available for projects already in our database.'

Odyssey’s operations in the North Atlantic are still underway after a charter extension, and Odyssey expects to provide an update on the Gairsoppa and Mantola projects on or before October 5, 2012.

For details on Odyssey's activities and its commitment to the preservation of maritime heritage please visit www.shipwreck.net.
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