With the corporate share price submerging faster than its famous ROV Zeus, the Sorcerers Apprentices at Odyssey Marine Exploration needed to pull a descent sized rabbit out of the hat to keep the disgruntled shareholders at bay for long enough to make the take over by Mexican minerals giant MINOSA viable. Now, with remarkable timing, Bugs may just have made his appearance. According to today’s press release from Odyssey HQ in Tampa, Florida, Odyssey have managed to visit not just one, but five [or is it nine, the precise wording, as always with Odyssey, is important and ambiguous], commodity wrecks “…believed to be carrying significant cargoes of gold and silver…” in one thirty day crew rotation for the Odyssey Explorer.
As any maritime archaeologist or marine salvageman will tell you, given the difficulties and uncertainties of trying to locate even one “targeted” wreck site on the continental shelf, let alone in the deep ocean, you do not locate five specific ships in the western Atlantic in the space of one crew rotation unless you know where to go in the first place. Of course Chief Sorcerer Greg Stemm and Apprentice Mark Gordon could have bought Odyssey Explorer‘s skipper a lucky rabbit’s foot, acquired a pendulum and Admiralty chart and taken up dowsing, or even replaced Dr Kingsley’s Wreck Watch consultancy with a psychic, [Mystic Meg is available since the closure of the News of the World], but it is perhaps more likely that OMEX purchased the positions of these wrecks from another salvage company [the names of various suspects are doing the rounds in the marine salvage community]. If that is the case then, following the trend set by the contract work on the paddle steamer Central America, which kept Odyssey Explorer, almost, gainfully employed last Summer, OMEX are not even pretending to look for their own projects any more. These vessels are someone else’s reheated leftovers.
It is also significant that the press release reports that [our italics] “Preliminary work to prepare for recovery operations on at least one of the targeted shipwrecks can be performed from the Odyssey Explorer.” In other words OMEX would not be capable of tackling more than the the most basic of preliminary work on perhaps as few as just one of these targets without the injection of sufficient cash to enable the charter of a more capable salvage platform such as the Swire Seabed Worker, used to salvage the cargo of silver from the SS Gairsoppa in 2012/2013.
Meanwhile the same press release also announces that the HMS Victory 1744 project, which Odyssey CEO Mark Gordon once told an investors conference would supply an income stream of $50-75 million per year between 2013 and 2018, has been relegated to become just one of three potential projects which OMEX might take on “…depending on which opportunity is next available to pursue.”
In other words there is currently no corporate plan. Just what has all the appearance of a hand to mouth attempt to look busy in advance of the proposed Mexican take over, which share holders will vote on later this month.
This all sounds like the marine salvage reboot of the unemployed and increasingly desperate, jobbing labourer Yosser Hughes who memorably wandered from building site to building site in Alan Bleasdale’s TV Plays “The Boys from the Blackstuff, ” pleading
“I can do that. Gizza’ Job? I can do that.”