Connect with us
background

News

Treasure hunters to dive legendary shipwreck first discovered by fugitive

Published

on

Gold hunters are heading back to the wreck of a ship that sank off the coast of South Carolina nearly 160 years ago, reviving an effort begun in 1987 by a colourful salvage diver who recovered millions from the site before ripping off his partners and disappearing.

Odyssey Marine Exploration, a deep-ocean exploration company based in Florida, left port late last week to recover gold that could be worth tens of millions of dollars that went down with the SS Central America and now rests a mile-and-a-half under the sea some 160 miles off the Palmetto State’s coast. The sunken treasure was first discovered by Tommy Thompson, and has been the subject of a protracted legal battle — not to mention a best-selling book. Thompson, who sold salvaged gold bars and coins to a California mint for $52 million before going on the run, remains a wanted man after failing to appear in an Ohio court in 2012. The 62-year-old seasoned sailor and diver is accused of cheating his team of nine technicians of at least $2 million, and they have been fighting for their cut in court for years.

If Odyssey is successful, it and the technicians could see a major payday.

“From what our research team has uncovered, along with the data collected by researchers for the court-appointed receiver, there is potentially a substantial amount of gold left on the site, along with some other interesting artifacts,” said Mark Gordon, the company’s chief operating officer and president, in a statement. “As importantly, there is a tremendous amount of scientific and archaeological knowledge that we will document from this deep-water site. It is exciting for us to be a part of the next chapter of this great American story and we look forward to sharing the results of our work.”

Estimates of how much gold was on the ship when it went down have ranged as high as 10 tons. Less than 5 percent of the site was investigated by Thompson’s team in the late 1980s and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern Division of Virginia ruled last May to appoint a receiver to supervise resumption of the recovery mission. Gold was valued at about $19 per ounce in 1857; today it sells for around $1,300 an ounce. Bob Evans, of Recovery Limited Partnership, the court-appointed receiver that hired Odyssey, told Bloomberg there may be up to $86 million of gold still lying on the ship.

“We expect the project to move forward quickly since we have access to all the previous records and images, which provide us with a great overview of the shipwreck,” Gordon said in a statement. “This has allowed us to begin planning operations that will focus on the most interesting and prospective areas of the site after we have completed a pre-disturbance survey and high-resolution photomosaic.”

The wreck lies too deep for humans to dive, but that won’t stop the salvage operation. Using its research vessel, the Odyssey Explorer, the company will use an 8-ton remotely operated vehicle (ROV) called Zeus to scan the ocean floor while the operation is directed by an archaeologist and project manager thousands of feet away.

“The SS Central America is one of the greatest shipwreck stories of all time,” Odyssey’s CEO Greg Stemm said in a statement. “We’re very familiar with mid-19th century paddlewheel shipwrecks, as well as the range of artifacts that are likely to be on the site … The SS Central America is less than half the 15,000 feet depth of the SS Gairsoppa, from which we successfully recovered nearly $80 million in silver over the past two years.”

The ship, originally launched in 1852 as the SS George Law, was in continuous service on the Atlantic leg of the Panama route between New York and San Francisco. When it sank on Sept. 12, 1857, killing at least 425 of its 477 passengers, it was carrying a large consignment of gold ingots and freshly minted U.S. $20 Double Eagle coins. The sheer size of the loss was so large that it triggered public confidence in the economy to fall, leading to what’s known to historians as the Panic of 1857. The ship was immortalized in the best-selling book, “Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea.”

Michael Frevola, a maritime attorney in the case, said that in 2012 he had a copy of the 1999 book on his desk during an interview with FoxNews.com. The 507-page national best-seller details Thompson’s trip to the bottom of the Atlantic, but the ensuing legal fight is worth an entirely separate book, he said.

“It’s at a point that a book could be written about this is not unfathomable,” Frevola said in 2012. “It’s a good read.”

Thompson, meanwhile, remains wanted by the U.S. Marshals Service, which began using digital billboards in Ohio and Florida last year to locate the fugitive treasure hunter and his 45-year old assistant, Alison Antekeier, whose arrest was ordered by a judge after they failed to appear in court in August 2012.

Thompson reportedly grew up in central Ohio and spent much of his adult life in Columbus. Antekeier also lived in Columbus until she moved with Thompson to Vero Beach, Fla., where the couple has been living as recently as 2012.

 

Source: www.foxnews.com

Gear News

New from Fourth Element: the RF2 free diving wetsuit

Published

on

The team at fourth element have introduced their latest freediving wetsuit, the RF2. Streamlined and high-performance, this two piece 6/5/4/mm suit has been developed for freedivers who want to enjoy maximum freedom and ultimate warmth.

Lined outer panels around the core, arms and legs provide durability, a Glideskin across the shoulders and the hood maximises hydrodynamics. This hybrid freediving wetsuit offers cool and cold water freedivers the freedom to explore their limits in comfort.

Director of fourth element, Paul Strike said, “We’ve designed this suit with the consultation of professional freedivers, instructors and with the knowledge of freedive suit specialists. The RF2 brings together fourth element’s knowledge of thermal protection with freediving expertise at the top of the sport to create a high performance recreational suit.”

The suit is both comfortable and practical, being more durable than traditional smoothskin suits whilst retaining excellent stretch and form fitting design. The inner of the suit has a smooth cell Metalite coating; this provides extra warmth retention and is more robust than traditional open cell.

Daan Verhoeven, Freediving Cameraman said, “The RF2 is possibly the best off-the peg suit I’ve ever tried. As soon as I got in the water, I instantly forgot the suit. I was just comfortable and could move without anything pinching or water coming in.”

Features

  • Streamline cut optimising glide
  • 5mm comfort, flexibility and warmth
  • Open cell interior, lined exterior
  • Smoothskin outer hood and shoulders for extra hydrodynamics
  • Beavertail closure
  • Supratex seat panel for extra durability

RF2 Hooded Jacket and Leggings are available in sizes S – XL.

RF2 Hooded Jacket 6/5/4mm RRP: £229.95 GBP / €275.00 EUR

RF2 Leggings 5/4mm RRP: £149.95 / €179.00 EUR

Find out more at www.fourthelement.com

Continue Reading

Marine Life & Conservation

Parineeti Chopra teams up with PADI to create Ocean Change

Published

on

PADI® is thrilled to announce an exceptional PADI AmbassaDiver™: Indian actress, singer and PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Parineeti Chopra.

“A PADI AmbassaDiver is someone who is passionate about using their force for good to encourage others to protect our blue planet,” says Kristin Valette Wirth, Chief Brand and Membership Officer. “We could not have found a more respected and authentic partner as Ms. Chopra, a long time ocean lover, to advance our shared mission of saving the ocean. She is unmatched as a shining example of how to protect what you love – and inspire others to do the same.”

Chopra, who has always loved the ocean, experienced the magic beneath the surface in 2013 when she took her first breath underwater in Bali. As soon as she surfaced from that dive, she was hooked – and protecting the ocean became very personal for her, receiving her PADI Open Water Diver certification later that year in Palau. Since then, she has inspired others around the world, from her family and friends to fans in India– to try scuba diving so they can join her in seeking adventure and saving the ocean.

“The first time I came up to the surface after diving, I was crying because it was such a life-changing experience,” says Ms. Chopra. “It is now something I can’t live without. I make sure I do a diving trip every three months despite my work schedule because it is my form of meditation. And it is the place I am immensely passionate about protecting.”

“We are all equal underwater and all speak the same language. Over the years I have seen the changes that have taken place beneath the surface. During my time as a brand ambassador for Tourism Australia, I witnessed the bleaching and damage that has occurred to the Great Barrier Reef.  I was so sad to see this and am now committed to being a diver with a purpose. I have also seen first-hand how marine reserves, like the ones in Sipadan, Malaysia and Palau, prove how valuable marine protected areas are. As a PADI Diver, I want to make sure that our entire blue planet gets the protection it deserves.” continues Ms. Chopra.

With over 67 million social media followers and having recently starred in the Netflix movie The Girl on the Train, Chopra joins an elite group of celebrity influencers determined to take personal action and create real change for healthier oceans. Spending nearly all her free time diving around the world, Chopra shares her love for the ocean with her fans, as diving is an important part of her life that allows her to return to nature and reset. She will work with PADI to encourage others to experience the beautiful world underwater as PADI Divers and join her in helping to achieve balance between humanity and the ocean.

“PADI created the AmbassaDiver programmeme to support extraordinary divers who dedicate their lives to illuminating the path that leads from curiosity, exploration, and discovery to understanding, stewardship and action. Ms. Chopra is playing a very important role in ocean conservation, lighting the way for others to become divers themselves and mobilising communities worldwide to seek adventure and save the ocean with her,” continues Valette Wirth.

Ms. Chopra has big plans for 2022 – including becoming a real-life PADI Mermaid and taking part in citizen science projects during her dive trips around the world. Follow Chopra’s dive adventures, projects and hands-on conservation efforts with PADI on her Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

To learn more about Chopra and the rest of the PADI AmbassaDiver team visit www.padi.com/ambassadivers.

Continue Reading

E-Newsletter Sign up!

Competitions

A luxurious dive resort in the heart of Lembeh Strait. Enjoy refined services while exploring the rich waters of Indonesia.

The resort is nestled around an ocean front deck and swimming-pool (with pool-bar) which is the perfect place to enjoy a sundowner cocktail at the end of a busy day of critter-diving.

All accommodation is full board and includes three sumptuous meals a day. Breakfast and lunch are buffet meals and in the evening dining is a la carte.

Book and stay before the end of June and benefit from no single supplements in all room types!

Booking deadline: Subject to availability – book and stay before end of June 2022

Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email info@diversetravel.co.uk.

More Less

Instagram Feed

Popular