Beyond the financial loss, 477 passengers, mostly either miners or businesspersons with interests in the California Gold Rush, perished.
The recovered coins were marketed by the California Gold Marketing Group LLC.
After a lengthy legal battle, in May 2013, a federal court appointed Kane to supervise recovery operations as the representative of Recovery Limited Partnership, which was established in 1985 to help finance the project, and Columbus Exploration LLC.
Kane’s role as receiver is to maximize the recovery of cargo and cultural heritage items that remain on the Central America shipwreck site for the benefit of the two firms’ investors and their creditors.
Mark Gordon, Odyssey’s president and chief operating officer, said that the firm expects the project to move forward in April, since Odyssey has access to previous records and images that provide a solid overview of the shipwreck.
Gordon said that the recovery mission of the Central America is part of a larger plan to recover existing shipwrecks in cases where legal issues are resolved prior to cargo recovery.
He added: “We intend to target one or more shipwreck cargo recoveries each year totaling at least $50 million annually, with the intention of generating a substantial dependable flow of revenue for many years to come. We plan to pursue other shipwreck projects in 2014, and the Central America project provides a great addition to our schedule.”
Gordon pointed to the firm’s success with 19th century paddlewheel shipwrecks, such as the recovery of 51,000 coins and 14,000 artifacts from the SS Republic a decade ago. Among the coins recovered from that Civil War-era shipwreck were 2,675 Coronet $20 double eagles and 1,460 Coronet $10 eagles.
He noted that the SS Central America is less than half of the depth of the SS Garisoppa, a British vessel sunk by a German U-boat during World War II. Over the past several years, Odyssey Marine has recovered more than $80 million in silver from that shipwreck.