Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Ship set for Sussex Treasure hunt

The Odyssey Explorer was anchored of the Tower at the Naval base again yesterday as it prepares to attempt to lift millions of pounds worth of gold and precious items from HMS Sussex.

The Sussex sank off Gibraltar over 300 years ago after money had been loaded from Gibraltar.

Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. is an American Stock Exchange Company with several shipwreck projects in various stages of development throughout the world. The company is a leader in the field of deep ocean shipwreck exploration. A spokesman for the company said that their 251’ deep ocean archaeological platform, the Odyssey Explorer, is to begin work on the shipwreck site believed to be HMS Sussex.

“Odyssey has received final approval on the technical and staffing portions of the Project Plan from the UK Government to proceed with the project. Once final mobilization is complete, the work outlined in the Project Plan will begin. Mobilization of equipment, crew and minor repairs necessary from the transatlantic crossing are expected to be completed within a week,” said a spokesman.

HMS Sussex was a large 80 gun English warship lost in a severe storm in the western Mediterranean in 1694. Research suggests that the Sussex was carrying a large cargo of money when she sank. Odyssey believes that it has located the shipwreck of HMS Sussex and has signed an exclusive partnering agreement with the Government of the United Kingdom for the archaeological excavation of the shipwreck.

HMS Sussex was built in Chatham in 1693 and sailed into the Mediterranean under Admiral Sir Francis Wheeler whose body was later washed up on a Gibraltar beach after the sinking. The investigators say records show that the Levant company in Gibraltar placed “a very substantial sum of money” for Britain’s use on HMS Sussex when she was on Gibraltar Bay. On February 19 1694 she sailed out and was caught in a storm with full gale winds off Gibraltar. Two ‘Moors’ jumped off the vessels and became its only survivors.

The venture will involve the use of expert information from the Gibraltar naval base such as tide levels to help establish depth readings.

Related Link: Abridged version of the Sussex Project Plan.


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