SubSea Resources PLC (AIM: SUB) is pleased to provide details of the Company's search and recovery programme for its vessel John Lethbridge going forward to March 2007.
The Company is also pleased to announce a number of new targets recently developed from the Company's extensive research archive.
[The Company will provide an update on progress in its large scale salvage operations in due course]
Key features of the amended programme include:
- Completion of refit of John Lethbridge survey vessel now expected in November 2005
- The recovery of Ella, a C19th bullion cargo valued at $8 million.
- The addition of Gina, a $6-8 million late 19th Century historic cargo to the 2006 survey and recovery programme.
- The probable addition of Louise, a $20-30 million 19th Century historic cargo, and Sally, a $10 million 20th Century aluminum cargo, to the 2006 survey programme.
- The addition of Hilde and Anna, precious metals cargo estimated to be worth over $ 40million, to the 2007 survey and recovery programme.
- Nine commercial targets (valued at $90 million) have been identified within reach of Miranda.
- 20 commercial targets (valued at $346 million) have been identified within reach of Vanilla.
Mark Gleave, Managing Director said:
"In the year since listing on AIM we have achieved a tremendous amount, particularly in the fields of research and engineering.
However, during this phase of our growth we have been vulnerable to third party delays and seem to have experienced more than our fair share of them - from the difficulties at Falmouth to engine and equipment failure on the hired vessel we used over the summer. However, this put our team to the test and I am tremendously proud of how they performed and what has been achieved."
John Kingsford, Operations Director, said:
"We now have our own, state of the art vessel, a tried and tested team and a comprehensive survey and recovery programme. The delays in the refit and in the recovery of our first cargo ELLA have been frustrating, but as a result we are now much better placed to achieve solid successes in this next busy phase."
John Lethbridge refit
The refit of the Company's survey vessel, John Lethbridge, is now expected to be completed in November 2005. This is approximately two months later than previously forecast due to an unexpected delay at the shipyard relating to another customer's project and outside of the Company's control. As a result revenues from cargo sales are now expected to commence during 2006. The additional time taken has, however, had the benefit of enabling a significant amount of planning of search and recovery targets to be undertaken. A very full programme of work for the vessel stretching into 2007 has now been prepared.
Planned work programme for John Lethbridge
On conclusion of the installation of all its equipment the John Lethbridge will be ready to fulfill two roles for the Company.
Commercial wreck survey in which the ship is tasked to find those targets that contain quantities of non-ferrous metals which will be salvaged at a later date by a second, larger vessel, the salvage ship. These targets are typically large (at least 100 metres) cargo ships from the 20th Century, which are made of steel and which provide a strong sonar signal. Here, the survey ship must locate the target and then provide video images, still photographs, and other data to allow the salvage engineers to prepare their work of opening the wreck and extracting the cargo.
Historic wreck survey where the wreck looked for is much older than the freighters cited above. Their cargoes are composed of mainly precious metals. These ships may be made of wood or iron, are smaller and consequently are less easily identified targets. However, once found and identified, it is probable that the equipment available on the John Lethbridge will be sufficient to recover the cargo. The vessel will be equipped with a Remote Operated Vehicle with a powerful pump unit that can remove sediment and manipulators and other tools that are able to lift relatively heavy loads.
- November '05, John Lethbridge will transit to Marseille, France, for survey equipment installation and tests. On route, she will conduct an assessment of the ELLA site and begin work depending on the weather.
- December '05 - March '06: Systems integration and tests on new equipment installed by the Company’s engineers.
- March '06 - April '06: Operation Gina – full sea trials of the integrated system on an established 19th Century wreck codenamed Project Gina.
- May '06 - June '06: Project Ella, John Lethbridge will return to the Ella site in May and conduct the full salvage.
- June/July '06 – August '06: Projects Miranda & Others - on completion of the Ella recovery John Lethbridge will search for the commercial wreck, Miranda. To be followed by surveys of a selection of nine other cargoes if possible.
- August '06 - September '06: Project Vanilla - John Lethbridge will cross the Atlantic during this period to survey this wreck with an approximate gross value of over $47 million.
- September '06 - March '07: John Lethbridge is expected to remain in the Western Atlantic during the northern winter. She has a large and diverse number of search options which cover a range 20 commercial and historic targets.
Clearly, due to the nature of marine operations the actual timings may vary and accordingly the proposed timeline is offered as a guide to the significant levels of activity expected during 2006 and early 2007.
Source: SubSea Resources PLC