Odyssey Marine Exploration (
) 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
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,"
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.