News & Media
Odyssey Marine Exploration Provides Update
November 30, 2006 - Tampa, FL - Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc. (AMEX: OMR), a leader in the field of deep-ocean shipwreck exploration, provided an operations update today.
Odyssey's primary marine operations focus during the summer and early fall of 2006 was the survey, mapping and inspection of seven "Tripoli" search blocks in the Company's "Atlas" shipwreck search project. These search blocks overlapped with other "Atlas" targets, but were designed to completely cover the area believed to hold the target shipwreck code-named "Tripoli." The Company has completed the side-scan survey phase of the seven blocks and has nine remaining anomalies that require further inspection with a remotely operated vehicle (ROV).
The Company's new vessel has achieved its scheduled 2006 objectives in the "Atlas/Tripoli" search area and is currently in port completing minor repairs needed to meet Class requirements. The ship is scheduled to depart for new projects shortly. The Odyssey Explorer has completed planned dry dock inspection, maintenance and repairs, but is scheduled to remain in port until mid-December to complete projects necessary for five-year inspection requirements. The Odyssey Explorer is then scheduled to inspect the nine new targets which were located during the last phase of operations in the "Atlas/Tripoli" search area, before sailing to the Mediterranean to begin operations there. While the weather during the upcoming weeks will be marginal at best, those targets will only require between two and three days of operations.
The Company has three projects in the Mediterranean on its winter/spring operations schedule, including HMS Sussex.
About the "Atlas" Project
The "Atlas" project is believed to be the most extensive shipwreck search operation ever launched. A minimum of five high-value shipwrecks are believed to be in the search area, which encompasses more than 5,000 square miles. Odyssey began search operations during the 2005 season and resumed operations in April 2006.
During the 2006 season, work was concentrated in the seven search block areas which encompass the "Atlas" target of highest value, code-named "Tripoli." During 2005, much of the area was searched with high-resolution side-scan sonar. During 2006, a second pass was completed which included acoustic and magnetometer data-streams which helped Odyssey create a larger database of information. Overlaying all three layers provided an extremely precise, high-resolution map of the 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 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.
Following is a summary of the operations conducted in the "Atlas/Tripoli" search area:
Odyssey filed an Admiralty arrest in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida in September. On October 30, 2006, the U.S. District Court granted the Company's Motion for Preliminary Injunction appointing Odyssey as the exclusive finder-in-possession of the shipwrecked vessel, and prohibiting any interference with Odyssey's intended excavation of the site, which is believed to be the remains of a 17th century merchant vessel 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 of the shipwreck.
About 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 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 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.
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.
Odyssey is working closely with the offices of the Embassy of the United Kingdom and the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence to address the final Andalucian issues relating to site mapping, positional information, and formalization of the submission plan through the project archaeologists. The Company anticipates these issues will be resolved before the end of the 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, Odyssey believes the results will translate to goodwill between all parties and serve to provide a platform for future cooperation in underwater exploration and management of deep-ocean cultural heritage.
In other news, Odyssey has received $ 1,153,000 as the complete insurance settlement on the Company's claim for damages and business interruption incurred by Odyssey's Shipwreck & Treasure Adventure in New Orleans due to Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. In addition, on November 22, 2006, the Company raised $1.5 Million through the issuance of 500,000 shares of common stock. Management believes this additional cash, cash flow from operations, and the potential exercise of warrants or other financing activities will be sufficient to meet the Company's financial requirements for the planned winter and spring operating seasons.
About Odyssey Marine Exploration
Odyssey Marine Exploration is an American Stock Exchange Company (OMR) 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.
Odyssey Marine Exploration believes the information set forth in this press release may include "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Act of 1934. Certain factors that could cause results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements are set forth in "Risk Factors," and "Business" in the Company's annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2005, which has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
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