Odyssey Marine Exploration Motions Granted In Two Admiralty Cases
Tampa, FL - July 26, 2007 -- Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. (NASDAQ:OMEX) was granted two of the three Motions for an Extension of Time to file its responses to the Kingdom of Spain's Motions for More Definite Statements in the three admiralty arrests which Odyssey currently has pending at the U.S. District Court that has assumed jurisdiction over the sites. The third Motion has not yet been ruled on as the presiding Judge is currently in trial for several more days. The Company's responses to the first two Motions are now due on August 6, 2007.
Odyssey filed these Motions primarily as a result of the illegal seizure and detention of Odyssey's survey vessel Ocean Alert by the Spanish Guardia Civil from July 12 through 18 during which the Guardia Civil confiscated confidential attorney/client privileged documents as well as a laptop computer belonging to one of Odyssey's attorneys. The ship was released when no evidence of wrongdoing was discovered, but the hard drive of the attorney's laptop has not been returned.
About the "Black Swan"
In May 2007, Odyssey announced the discovery and recovery of more than 500,000 silver coins weighing more than 17 tons, hundreds of gold coins, worked gold and other artifacts from a site in the Atlantic Ocean code-named "Black Swan."
The Kingdom of Spain has filed notices in three pending court cases in which Odyssey has filed Warrants of Arrest stating that the Spanish government does not intend to give up rights on any Spanish property which might be on the sites. Spain has not asserted a basis for any claims specific to any of the arrests.
In Odyssey's press release of May 21, 2007 the Company anticipated such an action from possible claimants and addressed the issue as follows:
"If we are able to confirm that some other entity has a legitimate legal claim to this shipwreck when - and if - the identity is confirmed, we intend to provide legal notice to any and all potential claimants. Even if another entity is able to prove that it has an ownership interest in the shipwreck and/or cargo and that they had not legally abandoned the shipwreck, Odyssey would apply for a salvage award from the Admiralty Court.
In cases such as this, salvors are typically awarded up to 90% of the recovery. We do believe that most shipwrecks that we recover, including the "Black Swan", will likely result in claims by other parties. Many will be spurious claims, but we anticipate that there might be some legitimate ones as well. In the case of the "Black Swan", it is the opinion of our legal counsel that even if a claim is deemed to be legitimate by the courts, Odyssey should still receive title to a significant majority of the recovered goods."
About Odyssey Marine Exploration
Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. is engaged in the exploration of deep-water shipwrecks and uses innovative methods and state-of-the-art technology to conduct extensive deep-ocean search and recovery operations around the world. Odyssey discovered the Civil War era shipwreck of the SS Republic in 2003 and recovered over 50,000 coins and 14,000 artifacts from the site nearly 1,700 feet deep. Odyssey has several shipwreck projects in various stages of development around the world.
Odyssey offers various ways to share in the excitement of deep-ocean exploration by making shipwreck treasures and artifacts available to collectors, the general public and students through its webstore, exhibits, books, videos, merchandise, and educational programs. Odyssey's "SHIPWRECK! Pirates & Treasure" exhibit recently opened at the Tampa Museum of Science and Industry. For details on the Company's activities and commitment to the preservation of maritime heritage please visit www.shipwreck.net.
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- Odyssey has not yet been able to positively identify the site and has not disclosed the location in order to protect artifacts which remain at the site.
- The "Black Swan" recovery was conducted in conformity with Salvage Law and the Law of the Sea Convention, beyond the territorial waters or legal jurisdiction of any country.
- The work accomplished to date on this site has diligently followed archaeological protocols using advanced robotic technology.
- All recovered items have been legally imported into the United States and placed in a secure, undisclosed location where they are undergoing conservation and documentation.
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" in the Part I, Item 1A of the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2006, which has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.