By NEIL HARTNELL
Tribune Business Editor
THE BAHAMAS - A “world leader” in shipwreck salvaging, which was recently featured in a Discovery Channel documentary, is negotiating with the Government over conducting treasure-hunting exploration in Bahamian waters, it has confirmed to Tribune Business.
Tampa-based Odyssey Marine Exploration, which was seen by TV viewers recovering 1,218 silver bullion ingots from a World War II wreck 4,700 meters deep off the Irish coast, has met Prime Minister Perry Christie and other Bahamian government officials about conducting similar operations in the wreck-rich Bahamian waters.
Laura Barton, Odyssey’s spokesperson, confirmed in an e-mailed response following Tribune Business inquiries: “Odyssey has met with government officials in the Bahamas, and we are excited about the possibility of working with the Bahamas under an agreement similar to those we have with other governments, which could recover and preserve lost cultural heritage and provide significant potential economic value to the country.”
While Odyssey did not comment further, and the Government has made no statement on the matter, Tribune Business sources close to developments confirmed that the marine salvager/explorer has met with Prime Minister Christie on its plans.
Apart from wreck salvaging/treasure hunting, this newspaper understands that Odyssey is also dangling the prospect of mining for mineral deposits in Bahamian waters in front of Mr. Christie, plus the possibility of moving its head office from Tampa to the Bahamas.
“They got the PM excited,” one source told Tribune Business. “He had one big meeting with Odyssey, and Odyssey said they wanted to mine the ocean floor. They’re talking about mining and what they can do from that.”
Odyssey’s 10-K annual report filing with the US Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) earlier this week discloses that it owns 6.2 million shares in Neptune Minerals, a company that discovers and “commercializes high-value mineral deposits”.
The company also has a long-term lease on the RV Dorado Discovery, a research vessel created for deep-ocean mineral exploration.
The 10-K filing reveals that Odyssey is focusing on Seafloor Massive Sulphides (SMS), which contain gold, copper, zinc and other minerals; Phosphorites; and Polymetallic nodules.
By NEIL HARTNELL
Tribune Business Editor
THE BAHAMAS - could “wipe out its national debt” if it moves to permit wreck/treasure salvaging and exploration, Tribune Business was told yesterday, one executive estimating $6 million could be instantly injected into the economy if pending license applications were approved.
Anthony Howorth, the former chairman of the Bahamas Association of Treasure Salvors (BATS), who has been assisting applicants applying for licenses from the Government, said one client had pledged to spend $600,000 in the Bahamas if their plans were given the go-ahead.
Other sources familiar with the situation told Tribune Business that at least 17 applications for survey licenses had been submitted to the Government - the first step in wreck/treasure exploration in Bahamian waters.
The applications were submitted after the House of Assembly, under the former Ingraham administration, passed the Antiquities, Monuments and Museums Act, and accompanying regulations that govern how artifacts are to be recovered from Bahamian waters and the division of resulting profits.
Tribune Business understands that the Government’s plan is to issue five licenses in the initial tranche of approvals, and a further five at a later date, making for a total of 10.
However, none have been approved to date, and sources close to the process are concerned about potential bureaucratic delays and red tape holding-up the process.
Mr Howorth, meanwhile, emphasized that the groups he was working with were “interested in protecting the underwater sea environment in the Bahamas”.
He told Tribune Business that numerous wreck sites, where valuable artifacts of historical importance, plus gold bullion, lay, were “being pirated all the time”.
By Paul Fattig
SALEM, Ore. - A bill to restrict suction dredge mining on sections of 30 rivers in Oregon, including the Rogue and Illinois drainages, has fired up the mining camp as well as the environmental and recreational communities.
The Waldo Mining District and other mining organizations have pledged to fight it, while the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center and Rogue Flyfishers urge its support.
Introduced by state Sen. Alan Bates, D-Medford, Senate Bill 401 would expand an existing ban suction dredge mining by expanding to 30 the river segments identified as Oregon State Scenic Waterways.
The goal is to protect the region's legacy of clean water and river recreation, said Bates, the deputy majority leader.
"Southern Oregon is home to thousands of us who consider our peaceful, pristine rivers a legacy to pass on to the next generation," Bates said in a prepared statement. "The dramatic increase in this potentially harmful practice may have serious impacts on fish, recreational users, conservationists and affected property owners."
He noted that the practice of vacuuming up a river bed with a motorized raft to obtain gold has become more prevalent over the past decade, growing from a few hundred permits a decade ago to nearly 2,000 permits in 2012.
By Dr. E. Lee Spence
This coming March 19 is the 150th anniversary of the sinking of the Civil War blockade runner Georgiana. Officially a British, brig-rigged, merchant vessel, she was attacked and sunk in 1863, while attempting to run past the federal blockading squadron and into Charleston, South Carolina. Like the Titanic, she was lost on her maiden voyage. I discovered her on March 19, 1965, exactly 102 years after she sank.
At that time, I was still just a teenager, but I had already been finding other wrecks and researching the Georgiana’s history for years.
In 1967, I joined forces with one of South Carolina's finest commercial fisherman, the late Captain Wally Shaffer, and a highly respected former state representative, the late George E. Campsen, Jr. We each put up $500 to start Shipwrecks Inc., with me serving as president. Our company was eventually issued S.C. State Salvage License #1, with the State claiming 25% of our finds.
The Georgiana, which carried a million dollar cargo of merchandise, medicines and munitions, was also reported to have $90,000 in gold coin aboard. Assisted by Jim Batey, Drew Ruddy, Steve Howard, Kevin Rooney, Val Gruno, Jack Thomson, and others, we eventually recovered over a million individual artifacts from the wreck in the 1960s and 70s.
TAMPA, Fla., Feb. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Seafarer Exploration Corporation (Seafarer) (OTCQB: SFRX) announced today that they have completed phase I on a shipwreck site located near Lantana Beach, FL and are moving into Phase II, a dig and identify permit which allows Seafarer to dig and determine various artifacts to help identify the ship. The final phase of excavation will be Phase III, full salvage.
Seafarer received a permit from the State of Florida for a shipwreck site located off of Lantana Beach, Florida in 2012. The site has recently been surveyed using a Geometrics 882 Cesium Vapor Magnetometer and this survey work showed compelling evidence that a large part of the ship lies buried in a relatively compacted area. Having completed phase I of the mapping survey and underwater video, Seafarer is preparing to begin digging and identifying the wreck. Items found and documented on this site in past explorations by third parties suggest the wreck could be a French or Spanish ship from the late 1600s. It will require more work to determine with accuracy.
Kyle Kennedy , Seafarer’s CEO, stated “While we have dig sites currently under permit, the Lantana Beach site represents one of our more intriguing ventures. In many cases historic shipwrecks are spread out over wide areas which can cause exploration and recovery to be very time consuming and expensive but this particular site looks very compact. We are very excited by what we discovered in Phase I and are eagerly anticipating Phase II which will begin immediately after obtaining our Department of Environmental Protection and US Army Corps of Engineers permits.”
The meeting with the chiefs. Dennis Åsberg and Peter Lindberg, back row, met with representatives of the tribe Kuna Yala in January. The plan is to start diving later this year. Photo: Ocean X Team
By Johanna Ekström
After the discovery of the mysterious circle in the Baltic Sea - now Ocean X Team is the first company to ever get the chance to literally start digging gold in the Indians' sacred waters off Panama's coast.
From the 1500s to the 1700s both commercial and Spanish warships loaded with gold and diamonds only to be wrecked in these waters, said Dennis Åsberg at Ocean X team
The coastal strip and the waters that run along the Panamanian coast down to Colombia belong to the Indian tribe Kuna Yala. The waters are sacred to Indians who have never allowed any treasure hunters to dive there - until now.
After seeing reports on the Ocean X Team and the mysterious circle they discovered in the Baltic Sea, which was a first for the world, last year contacted the Indians team.
We could hardly believe it was coming true; this is such a huge project. But they felt that we were trustworthy, we are a small Swedish company, said Dennis Åsberg in Ocean X team.
In January, he and Ocean X Team's second owner traveled to Panama and met the Indian chiefs. In May, they will head back there again and sign the final agreement. The project will then last for the next ten years.
Dennis Åsberg says Portobello in Panama was for several centuries, from the 1500s to the 1700s, the port where the Spanish ships were loaded with gold and diamonds that were to be shipped to Europe.
He would not go into the exact shipping or treasure they expect to find - more than the wrecks are incredibly valuable.
The Indians have an eye on the wrecks, but they have not had the resources or opportunities. They did not dare let any American or European companies salvage them because they have been afraid of being cheated.
Sure, we will make good money on this, but our task is to salvage and return the treasure to the proper owners, the Indians. It is a great honor, says Åsberg.
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Avah LaSage (right), 6, and Rivkah Valley (left), 7, pan for fool's gold in part the new Treasure exhibit at the Discovery Center in Concord; Friday afternoon, January 25, 2012. It was the girls' first time at the Discovery Center. Their mothers Tavia LaSage and Kathy Valley homeschool them and said they will definately be spending more time at the museum in the future.
SAMANTHA GORESH / Monitor Staff
By MELANIE PLENDA For the Monitor
CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE - Whether it be gold stashed at the bottom of the briny blue or the dusty knick knack in your grandma’s hope chest, treasures can be found anywhere and can be anything.
The McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center will host the exhibit “Treasure!” over the next several months, exploring the history of treasure, treasure hunting, the stories behind the people who go on the hunt as well as the latest in technology that helps hunters find their cache.
“We thought this would be a cool exhibit to get,” said Timothy Taber, education coordinator of exhibits at the center. “It’s something a little bit different than something we would normally do and has a lot of fun interactive things.”
The exhibit includes themes such as underwater treasure, buried treasure, gold rush, treasure in the attic, geocaching and metal detecting among others. Each of the themes also has corresponding hands-on activity that allows kids to try treasure hunting.
“We had a lot of fun,” said Sarah Ricker Foynes, a mom who posted on the museum’s Facebook page. “My kids especially liked shooting the cannon balls and using the metal detectors.”
The exhibit also features actual artifacts from shipwrecks and other treasure sites, officials said, and visitors can go on a real hunt for a treasure chest inside the exhibit.
“When they designed this exhibit, they wanted to cover several different ways that people view treasure,” Taber said.
By Greg Tuttle
The silver Spanish coin that Harold Holden found while diving off the Florida coast had been missing for nearly 300 years.
Now it's missing again, and his family would like it returned.
Holden, a Florida construction supervisor whose hobby was diving for treasure, died Jan. 10 in a Red Lodge nursing home at age 88.
When his sister, Evelyn Grovenstien, of Billings, went the next day to collect his belongings, the silver coin Holden wore daily on a chain around his neck was gone.
"He wore it all the time," Grovenstien said. "I don't think he hardly ever took it off."
By Sedem Ama
UK - A man walking his dog on a beach found a stone believed to be valuable sperm whale vomit, or ambergris, this week.He has been told it could be worth anything from £40,000 to £100,000 because it is such a vital and rare perfume ingredient. But Ken Wilman's find (more below) is only the latest of unusual and highly valuable discoveries made by walkers.
We have compiled five of the most surprising "treasure in disguise" finds.
1. 1992 – Hoxne Hoard
Although it is typical for findings to consist of gold artifacts, the circumstances in which the Hoxne Hoard was acquired were very unlikely. Found in Suffolk, the Hoxne Hoard was discovered when two men went in search of a lost hammer.
Eric Lawes immediately reported the discovery in November 1992 and after a full excavation over 15,000 gold and silver Roman coins were identified, accompanied with gold jewelry and various small items of silver tableware. It is thought were buried in the fifth century AD.
Mr. Lawes received a finder's fee of £1.75m, which was shared equally with his friend who was with him when the hoard was found. It is said that this is the largest payment ever granted to a treasure hunter.
2. 2001- The Ringlemere cup
A rare gold chalice was found by metal detector hobbyist Cliff Bradshaw in a field near Ringlemere, East Kent. Later identified as the Ringlemere cup, it is a product of immaculate craftsmanship from the Bronze Age, dating from 1700-1500 BC.
"That is how most items are found, by chance, by a chap going around," Mr. Bradshaw told the BBC.
Upon finding the chalice, Mr Bradshaw found that it had already been significantly damaged.
"I didn't do any more searching or digging - I would have been destroying the context," he said.
Even though the cup was discovered in a crumpled condition, it was eventually purchased by the British Museum for £250,000, which was divided by Mr. Bradshaw and the landowner.
Tampa, FL - January 23, 2013 - Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. (NasdaqCM: OMEX), pioneers in the field of deep-ocean exploration, will be featured on Discovery Channel’s SILVER RUSH, a series premiering on February 12 at 10 PM ET.
Film crews for the Discovery Channel series were onboard Odyssey’s ships during 2012 operations and captured the record-breaking recovery of 48 tons of silver bullion from the Gairsoppa site. JWM Productions, the company that produced Discovery Channel’s TREASURE QUEST also featuring Odyssey, produced the three-part series that showcases Odyssey’s work on the Gairsoppa, Mantola andVictory during 2012.
“Part of our mission is to share the excitement of what we do with the general public. 2012 was a special year for our team as we set out to conduct recovery operations on a shipwreck that was over three miles deep – deeper than theTitanic and something that had never been accomplished before,” said Mark Gordon, Odyssey President and COO. “Our team successfully accomplished the record-breaking recovery of 48 tons of silver bullion - the heaviest and deepest recovery of precious metals in history.”
“Seeking and discovering shipwrecks is fascinating and challenging so to witness the trials and triumphs of the crew hundreds of miles off shore makes gripping television. SILVER RUSH will give viewers a first-hand look at the planning, precise maneuvering of advanced robotics three miles deep, and the ingenuity of the team,” said JWM President Jason Williams. “Finding the shipwreck was a sensational news story, but the story of this team’s ‘never give up’ attitude to carry out the operation that took place this year is what I think will really captivate the audience.”
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- Carlisle Borough Council votes against ban on metal detectors
- Prospector strikes 5.5kg gold nugget
- Brouhaha over the ‘Marcos Loot’
- Staffordshire Hoard duo in fresh windfall from new ‘treasure’ finds
- Craig Suits and Lilith Eden Pen New Book on Entertaining Hobby, ‘Treasure In Your Backyard’
- 2 treasure hunters buried alive