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Note: Odyssey Marine Exploration now trades on the American Stock Exchange (Amex) under the symbol OMR.

ODYSSEY DISCOVERS SIDEWHEEL STEAMSHIP

TAMPA, FL - August 18, 2003- Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: OMEX), a leader in the field of deep ocean shipwreck exploration, believes that it has located the SS Republic, the target shipwreck of the project code-named "Bavaria" after one of the longest and most expansive shipwreck searches ever accomplished. During the last 12 years, over 1,500 total square miles have been covered in the search for this elusive target, with Odyssey searching over 1,000 square miles during the past two years alone. A total of 24 targets were inspected with a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), during 2002 and 2003 after an exhaustive search operation using advanced Edgetech Chirp side-scan sonar and integrated Seaspy Overhauser magnetometer technology.

The SS Republic was a sidewheel steamer that was lost in deep water in 1865 after battling a hurricane for two days. All the crew and passengers made it safely off the vessel, although a number of passengers eventually died on one of the rafts before they could be rescued. The ship, en route from New York to New Orleans, was reportedly carrying $400,000 in gold coins to New Orleans to help finance post-Civil War reconstruction efforts. Dr. Donald Kagin, considered one of the nation's foremost experts on American gold coins from that period, has estimated that the potential retail value of these coins in today's market could reach $150 million or more.

"With a cargo of at least 20,000 Twenty Dollar gold pieces, I would expect that the coins would fetch an average of between $6,000 and $9,000 each based on the sale of the coins from the shipwrecks of the Central America and Brother Jonathan, and the enhanced value from the amazing story of this particular ship." Kagin stated. "That value would depend on the ultimate quality of the specimens, but if their condition proves to be comparable to other shipwreck coins from the period, it would make this the most valuable documented cargo ever recovered from a shipwreck."

Unlike some of Odyssey's other projects, it will not be necessary to seek permits for the excavation of this shipwreck, which will be accomplished pursuant to the company's Admiralty arrest of the site. This is because the company believes that neither the ship nor the cargo are subject to any government or sovereign claims and she was lost beyond the territorial waters of the United States Archaeological excavation of the site is planned to begin in September following the mobilization of the company's ship, the Odyssey Explorer and new ZEUS ROV system.

"At approximately 500 meters depth, this site is well within the range of our archaeological excavation technology, which is capable of operations to 2,500 meters" commented John Morris, Odyssey CEO. "Its proximity to the US, the location of our equipment and the comparative weather windows between the Mediterranean and Atlantic make the choice to do the SS Republic prior to our other major project, the Sussex, an easy one."

The SS Republic has been dubbed the "Forrest Gump of the Civil War Era", because of the interesting series of historical events in which it participated. Among the noteworthy events in its life:

  • She participated in the transport of Gold Rush passengers to and from California via the Central American route;
  • Provided the first regularly scheduled steamship service to South America;
  • Provided transportation for the "soldiers" of William Walker; the man who captivated the public's imagination with his exploits. After leading a ragtag army of "filibusters" to a failed invasion of Mexico, he successfully conquered and made himself President of Nicaragua with a colorful band of sharpshooters and misfits known as the "immortals";
  • Pressed into service as a Blockade runner for the Confederacy during the early days of the Civil War, carrying much needed supplies from Cuba;
  • Captured by the Union Navy, armed heavily and then ironically used to chase and capture Confederate Blockade Runners;
  • Used as a Flagship by the renowned Union Admiral David Farragut in battles up and down the Mississippi. The ship was also part of the Union fleet in the battle of Mobile Bay, where Farragut exclaimed, "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!"
  • After the Civil War, the ship, now owned by private investors, played an important role in the South's reconstruction, making repeated trips to New Orleans with supplies and money to help relieve the post-war misery. She was lost while carrying a load of much needed gold and supplies.

"The story that this shipwreck tells will certainly be one of the most colorful nautical tales in history," said Greg Stemm, Odyssey co-founder. "The archaeological excavation we are planning will focus on bringing the story of this amazing ship back to life. I have never seen a site with such an amazing array of artifacts."

The preliminary video inspection of the site revealed the starboard paddlewheel partially buried in sediment, the ship's rudder sheathed in copper, and a large field of personal artifacts and bottles, including preserved bottles of fruit with corks still intact. Additional information about the SS Republic, including pictures and video clips of the shipwreck site, is available at www.shipwreck.net.

Odyssey is currently preparing the most advanced deep ocean archaeological system ever mobilized to begin excavation of the site. Operations are planned to begin in September utilizing the Odyssey Explorer, the company's new 251 foot Class II dynamically positioned (DP) ship and ZEUS, Odyssey's seven ton, 205 horsepower remotely operated vehicle (ROV). ZEUS is rated to 2,500 meters (8,200 ft) and has two Schilling seven-function Conan Force-Feedback manipulators, which provide for exceptional dexterity and fine control of delicate archaeological procedures.

Odyssey Marine Exploration has several shipwreck projects in various stages of development throughout the world, including the Sussex and SS Republic projects. The company has signed an exclusive partnering agreement with the Government of the United Kingdom for the archaeological excavation of the British warship HMS Sussex. Operations on the Sussex are planned to begin following the excavation of the SS Republic.

Additional information about Odyssey, the SS Republic and HMS Sussex projects, ZEUS and the Odyssey Explorer is available at www.shipwreck.net.

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The Company believes the information set forth in this Press Release may include "forward-looking statements." 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 10KSB for the year ended February 28, 2003, which has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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