Salvage Contracts in Place for Four 20 th-Century Shipwreck Projects
Rare Shipwreck Archive Acquired to Enhance Odyssey's Commodity Wreck Database
TAMPA, Fla., Sept. 20, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Odyssey Marine Exploration (Nasdaq:OMEX), pioneers in the field of deep-ocean exploration, today announced that the company has received project approval and salvage contracts from ship owners for a major multi-year commodity shipwreck program with a potential total recovery value of more than $230 million based upon current commodity prices and related assumptions. The company has negotiated salvage contracts with ship owners that will award 90% of the net recovered cargo value to Odyssey for four separate deep-ocean shipwrecks carrying valuable commodities when they sank. There are additional valuable shipwrecks that do not require salvage agreements that can be added to the program and undertaken while Odyssey has a ship and equipment nearby.Planning is underway to assemble the necessary ship and equipment for the recovery of these cargoes, which is targeted to begin as early as the second quarter of 2013. Search operations are anticipated to be completed very quickly with the recovery vessel so operations can flow directly from confirmation to cargo recovery. In addition, Odyssey has received an expression of interest from an investment group interested in providing non-dilutive funding to take the project to the stage where it will generate positive cash flow. Odyssey will evaluate this proposal, other potential non-dilutive options, and the possibility of self-funding the operation to determine the best course of action for long-term shareholder value. "The work that we've been doing this summer on the Gairsoppa and Mantola projects confirms that our team can successfully conduct recovery operations on modern metal shipwrecks in the deep ocean. Based on this experience, we'll be adding some equipment to our suite of tools and improving others," said Mark Gordon, Odyssey President and COO. "This program is another opportunity to diversify our project and capabilities portfolio, which also includes archaeological excavation, conservation and documentation of historic shipwrecks as well as mineral exploration in the deep ocean." In addition, Odyssey recently acquired a large private research archive that features a significant amount of primary historical data, including manifests, cargo contracts and other documents previously unavailable to the public or researchers. This huge collection of documents includes approximately 3,200 shipwrecks in Europe, the Americas, Mediterranean Sea, Asia and Indian Ocean regions. The cargoes listed include gold, silver, commodity metals and other cargo – some of which are not represented in Odyssey's own databases.