Shipwreck Hunter Explores 5 Vessels on Atlantic Seabed

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by Sonja Elmquist (Bloomberg) A U.S. salvage company that has recovered precious metals from miles below the surface of the Atlantic over more than two decades is exploring five shipwrecks it says may have “significant” cargoes of gold and silver.

Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc. said Tuesday it carried out underwater reconnaissance using a remotely operated vehicle. It’s studying data to determine if recovery of the cargoes is feasible, the Tampa, Florida-based company said in a statement.

Odyssey has salvaged tons of precious metals from the seabed over the years from various wrecks, including that of the SS Gairsoppa, a British freighter sunk by a Nazi submarine in 1941.

 

In April last year, Odyssey said it recovered ingots and other gold from the SS Central America worth more than $100,000 when the steam ship sank in 1857. The vessel, which lies more than a mile down in the Atlantic, was lost in a storm, killing 425. The company recovered artifacts from the same wreck in 1989 through 1991,

Subsea salvage isn’t without its risks. In 2007, Odyssey was forced to hand over 17 tons of silver recovered from a warship to the Spanish government.

The 21-year-old company has recorded 10 straight annual losses. In 2013, activist hedge fund manager Ryan Morris said Odyssey’s stock was worthless and predicted it would run out of cash.

Odyssey rose 3.1 percent to 50 cents at 11:47 a.m. in New York. The shares have tumbled 62 percent in the last 12 months.

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