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Odyssey Marine claims 2 new shipwreck discoveries

Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc. is telling the world it has found two more shipwrecks. But, as is typical in the top-secret world of treasure hunters, the Tampa company isn't saying much more.

Odyssey filed papers Thursday in U.S. District Court in Tampa saying it has discovered a pair of shipwreck sites in the region of the English Channel.

While the exact locations of the sites were not disclosed, Odyssey said they are "outside the territorial waters or contiguous zone of any sovereign nation."

The deep-sea exploration company said it has conducted preliminary surveys at the wreck sites and found both cannons and other artifacts believed to date from the colonial period. It has not yet confirmed the vessels' identities.

Odyssey's court filing, called an Admiralty Arrest Complaint, is intended to protect the company's legal interests and give it exclusive salvage rights. Once the sites are identified, the company said any potential claimants will be notified. Since the company was started in 1986, Odyssey has laid claim to eight sites and acquired one additional site, off the coast of North Carolina.

Odyssey's stock rose 27 cents to close at $4.96 on word of the discoveries. For the past year, the company has been tangled in a legal battle with Spain over its right to an estimated $500-million in silver and several hundred gold coins found on a wreck code-named "Black Swan."

Odyssey received $2-million for its deal this week with Discovery Channel for an 11-episode series to air in 2009. The company lost $6.8-million, or 14 cents a share, for the quarter ending March 31.

Kris Hundley can be reached at hundley@sptimes.com or (727) 892-2996.

Odyssey Marine claims 2 new shipwreck discoveries 05/29/08 [Last modified: Friday, May 30, 2008 3:05pm]
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