Odyssey Marine Exploration (OMEX) gears up for treasure hunts

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Odyssey Marine Exploration ( OMEX ) has a unique business model. The company, featured in the Discovery Channel series "Treasure Quest," searches the globe for shipwrecks that are rumored to have valuable troves of precious metals. Odyssey is gearing up to embark on a quest to recover $260 million from a ship sunk by a German U-boat in 1941.

The S.S. Gairsoppa was a cargo steamer the Germans sank off the Irish coast. According to analysts, the ship could contain as much as $260 million in silver. Last year, Odyssey attained permission from the U.K. government to keep as much as 80 percent of the bullion recovered from the shipwreck.

Crews have their work cut out for them: The shipwreck is estimated to be 14,000 feet below the sea's surface and like any treasure hunt, it's unknown whether a bounty of precious metals awaits. Nonetheless, Odyssey president is optimistic about the ship's future. "This is the year we're going to go out and find it," he said in an interview. Gordon affirmed: "The total survey and recovery costs will be a fraction of the value" of the $10 million the company is spending to fund the search.

Gordon's optimism is borne from the company's 2007 discovery of 17 tons of gold and silver coins. The company plans to start looking for Gairsoppa in May and currently has "more projects at relatively late stages than we've ever had in the history of the company," Gordon asserted.

In May, the company also returns to the U.S. appeals court where it faces the Spanish government's claims for about $500 million in coins the salvager found off the coast of Portugal.

 



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.




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