Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc. has been awarded an exclusive
contract to conduct an archaeological excavation to recover the
remaining cargo from the SS Central America.
The firm announced the decision on March 3, 2014.
The Central America, nicknamed the “Ship of Gold,” sank
approximately 160 miles off of the coast of South Carolina in
September 1857 and was one of the largest documented shipments of gold
ever lost at sea.
Ira Owen Kane, the court-appointed receiver who represents Recovery
Limited Partnership, which has exclusive salvage rights over the
shipwreck, said that proposals were circulated to nine firms with
expertise in the deep-ocean exploration and recovery industry.
In the arrangement, Odyssey will receive 80 percent of recovery
proceeds until a fixed rate — which has not been disclosed — has been
paid. After that, Odyssey will receive 45 percent of the recovery proceeds.
Kane said, “After conducting an exhaustive review of the extensive
amount of historical research available on the shipwreck, our experts
estimate the shipwreck still holds a commercial shipment of gold that
was valued at approximately $93,000 in 1857, as well as a substantial
amount of passenger gold valued in 1857 between $250,000 and $1,280,000.”