News & Media
Odyssey Marine Exploration Provides Operations Update
October 24, 2006 - Tampa, FL - Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc. (AMEX: OMR), a leader in the field of deep-ocean shipwreck exploration, provided a marine operations update today.
The "Atlas" Project
Odyssey's primary operational focus of summer and fall 2006 has been seven search blocks of Odyssey's "Atlas" project, which encompass the area believed to contain the "Atlas" target of highest value, code-named "Tripoli".
These search blocks overlapped with other "Atlas" targets, but were designed to completely cover the area believed to hold the "Tripoli." The Company began search operations on the project during the 2005 season, and resumed operations in April 2006. During 2005, much of the area was searched with one pass with a high-resolution side-scan sonar. During 2006, a second pass of the area was completed which included acoustic (side-scan) data and also a magnetometer datastream which helped the company create a large database of both acoustic and magnetic information. Overlaying all three layers provided an extremely high resolution map of these seven search blocks.
Once targets of interest were logged, additional high-resolution imagery and magnetometer surveys were utilized to further classify and map targets before Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) were deployed to visually inspect and recover any artifacts deemed necessary for identification.
During the entire 2006 survey period, at least two ships were mobilized to engage in this search operation, and during part of the summer, three ships were utilized. After the side-scan mapping was completed, Odyssey released the leased vessel employed during the past two "Atlas" seasons and it has returned to its home port.
Following is a summary of the operations conducted in the "Tripoli" search area:
More targets may yet be discovered during the balance of this year's search operations, as Odyssey continues final target inspections and filling in gaps from the survey. These activities are anticipated to be completed in this area during November. These operations will also include photomosaics and preliminary excavations of sites of interest.
Odyssey filed a shipwreck arrest in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida in September. On October 11, the U.S. Magistrate recommended that Odyssey's Motion for Order Granting Preliminary Injunctive Relief be granted, giving the company exclusive Salvor-in-Possession status and prohibiting any interference with Odyssey's intended excavation of the site, believed to be a 17th Century Merchant vessel which is located outside the territorial waters of any country. However, until further ROV inspections and a preliminary archaeological excavation are completed on the arrested shipwreck site, the company is not prepared to confirm the identity or potential value.
The Odyssey Explorer is due in drydock the first week of November for what is expected to be a relatively short class inspection and re-fitting of ZEUS. During that time, artifacts and data from the arrested site will be analyzed. The Company may return to the site again after the drydock, depending on the Sussex project schedule and weather conditions.
"Thanks to advances in technology and the continuing expertise of Odyssey's seasoned crews, we once again had another highly productive "Atlas" search season. We completed mapping thousands of square miles of ocean floor in a very difficult environment, allowing us to examine scores of shipwreck sites. More importantly, we believe we've located shipwrecks with characteristics similar to those on our roster of targets," said Greg Stemm, co-founder of Odyssey Marine.
The Sussex Project
The Sussex was an 80-gun English warship lost in a severe storm in the western Mediterranean in 1694. Research suggests the Sussex was carrying a large cargo of coins when she sank. Odyssey believes it has located the shipwreck of HMS Sussex and has signed an exclusive partnering agreement with the legal owner of the shipwreck, the Government of the United Kingdom, for the archaeological excavation of the shipwreck.
In late 2005 and early 2006, Odyssey completed to the satisfaction of the Government of the United Kingdom all work detailed in Phase 1A of the Sussex archaeological project plan. The Company has also completed a portion of Phase 1B. (A public version of the project plan is available for viewing at www.shipwreck.net/sussexpp.php .) The company temporarily halted operations on the project at the request of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs while issues relative to the archaeological plan for excavation of the site, territorial and cultural resource management issues were negotiated.
In March 2006, Odyssey submitted an archaeological plan to the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs which addressed questions raised by the Government of the Autonomous Region of Andalucia in reference to the ongoing HMS Sussex project. As part of this proposed plan, Odyssey agreed with the British Government to undertake additional survey operations in the area and to provide Spain with a detailed assessment of the region's underwater cultural heritage in deep water, as well as assistance in developing a plan for managing and protecting those resources.
In August, additional clarifications and a response to additional questions were provided at a meeting in Seville arranged by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs with representatives of the Government of Andalucia through the offices of the Embassy of the United Kingdom. As a result of that meeting, the outstanding matters were narrowed to three issues relating to site mapping, positional information and formalization of the submission of the plan through the project archaeologists.
Odyssey is working closely with the offices of the Embassy of the United Kingdom and the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence to address these final issues and anticipates that they will be resolved in time to resume operations later this year.
Throughout the duration of this complicated multi-national situation, the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Ministry of Defence, the United States Department of State and representatives of the Autonomous Region of Andalucia have all contributed resources and attention to solving a complex series of issues relating to the Sussex project. While it has taken longer to resolve these issues than anticipated, we believe that the results will translate to goodwill between all the parties and serve to provide a platform for future cooperation in underwater exploration and management of deep ocean cultural heritage.
About Odyssey Marine Exploration
Odyssey Marine Exploration is an American Stock Exchange Company with several shipwreck projects in various stages of development throughout the world. Additional information about Odyssey, its projects, methodologies and technologies, is available at www.shipwreck.net.
In order to protect the identities of the targets of planned search operations, Odyssey may not disclose specific information relating to ship operations and search targets until the Company has located the targeted shipwreck or shipwrecks and determined a course of action to protect its property rights, which may include recovery of artifacts and transport to an appropriate jurisdiction.
For additional information, please contact Laura Lionetti Barton at 813-876-1776 ext 2562.
# # #
|© Copyright, 1998 , Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc., Tampa, FL 33679-2057, USA - All Rights Reserved|