Mark Gordon, Odyssey Marine Exploration's president and chief
operating officer, said that the firm expects to recover the remaining
cargo from the SS Central America as soon as April 2014, since
Odyssey has access to previous records and images that provide a solid
overview of the shipwreck.
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. The shipwreck site was discovered in 1987 by
Columbus-America Discovery Group at a depth of approximately 7,200 feet.
Gordon said that the recovery mission 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 in 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.