Odyssey Marine Exploration (AMEX: OMR), a leader in the field of deep-ocean shipwreck exploration, provided a marine operations update today on the status of the "Atlas," Sussex and Western Mediterranean projects.
Odyssey's "Atlas" shipwreck search project - the Company's search for five, high-value shipwrecks in an area encompassing over 5,000 square miles - is still ongoing. Since announcing the start of the "Atlas" search project on May 4, 2005, Odyssey has searched over 3,700 square miles and located over 2,100 anomalies on the sea floor using an advanced high-resolution side-scan sonar system. After post-processing data, over 1,000 of those anomalies were selected for further examination by ZEUS, one of the Company's Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs). More than 400 of the 1,000 targets selected have already been visually inspected with ZEUS. More information on the shipwrecks which have been inspected will be released after the Company has identified them sufficiently to evaluate their potential economic value, cultural significance and potential security issues.
"During the past five months of our 'Atlas' project, we've searched an area larger than all our previous shipwreck searches combined. This amazing performance by our offshore team demonstrates the considerable advances in technology that will change the face of deep-ocean exploration forever," said Greg Stemm, co-founder of Odyssey Marine Exploration. "Even as our research department continues to develop new potential shipwreck projects on a regular basis, our capacity for covering huge portions of the ocean bottom is expanding every year."
Odyssey will continue work in the "Atlas" search area as long as the weather remains favorable for operations, which is expected to last another two to six weeks, depending on weather patterns this fall. The Company plans to resume search operations in the "Atlas" area when weather permits in 2006. The search of the entire area and inspection of all targets is expected to be completed during the 2006 season. If one or more of the high-value targets are identified during 2005, the Company has identified an ROV system that may be utilized on a large vessel capable of working through the winter, a job that the Odyssey Explorer is not capable of handling in the "Atlas" area during the stormy winter months.
After the weather window closes for the Odyssey Explorer on the "Atlas" project for 2005, the Company plans to relocate the ship to the Western Mediterranean, where work can continue through the winter. Immediately after mobilization of additional equipment and the archaeological team, the Company plans to begin operations on the shipwreck site believed to be HMS Sussex.
HMS Sussex was a large 80-gun English warship that sank in 1694 with a reported large cargo of money. The ship remains the exclusive property of the Government of the United Kingdom and Odyssey has an exclusive partnering agreement for the archaeological excavation of the Sussex.
"We're pleased that by working together with the United Kingdom, Spain and the Junta de Andalucia, we have been able to develop a cooperative relationship that allows us to proceed with the Sussex in a collaborative and friendly manner," commented John Morris, Odyssey's CEO and co-founder. "Pursuant to a series of official exchanges this year with Spain and the Autonomous Region of Andalucia through the U.S. State Department, Odyssey has agreed to allow an archaeologist appointed by Andalucia to accompany the expedition in order to confirm the identity of the Sussex and to assess the archaeological protocols relating to the project. We believe that Odyssey's cooperation with the Governments of the United Kingdom, the United States and Spain serves to underscore our commitment to the management and preservation of underwater cultural heritage throughout the world," Morris added.
So far this year, a number of shipwreck targets with potential value have been located, and a number of inspections and preliminary excavations have been completed by Odyssey. A substantial number of artifacts have been transported to Odyssey's conservation lab where they are undergoing appropriate care, treatment and further study in order to establish the identity of the shipwrecks from which they were recovered.
For security reasons, Odyssey does not intend to announce the identity of any of these shipwrecks until confirmation of their identity or legal status.
About Odyssey Marine Exploration
Odyssey Marine Exploration is an American Stock Exchange Company (Ticker symbol: OMR) with several shipwreck projects in various stages of development throughout the world including the "Atlas" and Sussex projects. Additional information about Odyssey, its projects and equipment is available at www.shipwreck.net.
For more information, please contact John McNeilly, manager of corporate communications, at 813-876-1776 (ext. 2553).xxx Odyssey Marine Exploration xxx
Source: Odyssey Marine Exploration