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HMS Victory Shipwreck Project Approved

By MarEx 2014-10-27 14:53:00

Odyssey Marine Exploration, a pioneer in the field of deep-ocean exploration, welcomes today's statement by the United Kingdom's Secretary of State for Defence giving consent to proceed with the archaeological investigation and recovery of at-risk artifacts from the HMS Victory (1744) wreck site in accordance with the project design that has been approved by the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) and Department for Culture Media & Sport (DCMS).

In 2008, Odyssey discovered the shipwreck of HMS Victory (lost 1744) and with the permission of the MOD recovered two cannon to aid positive identification of the shipwreck. The MOD and the DCMS held a joint public consultation on options for the management of the site. In January 2012, a deed of gift transferred the Victory (1744) and associated materials belonging to the Crown to the Maritime Heritage Foundation (MHF), a UK charity. The MHF will next submit the necessary application to the UK Marine Management Organisation to allow operations to begin.

As the exclusive archaeological contractor to the MHF, Odyssey will undertake the activities as outlined in the approved project design, including recording, documentation, conservation and publication. All recovered artifacts will be declared to the Receiver of Wreck in accordance with UK legislation.

"We are looking forward to sharing the progress of this exciting archaeological project and the stories told by the recovered artifacts with the public," said Lord Lingfield, chairman of the Maritime Heritage Foundation. "HMS Victory is the only wreck of a first-rate English warship discovered underwater anywhere in the world. Odyssey's archaeological experience with this shipwreck, as well as with many other projects throughout the world, gives us great confidence this important project will be conducted to the highest standards."

Odyssey president and CEO Mark Gordon commented, "This is an exemplary project for Odyssey that can demonstrate how cooperation between the public and private sectors can benefit business, the government and the public. We are committed to conducting this archaeological project with the greatest of care and concern as we utilize advanced technology, defining procedures, and experts for recording, documentation, recovery, conservation and publication."

About HMS Victory

HMS Victory was launched in 1737 and later became the flagship of the Channel Fleet. She was lost less than a decade later during a violent storm in October 1744. The Victory is unique as the only scientifically-studied wreck of a first-rate English warship found in the world's oceans.

Between February and August 2012, Odyssey conducted, on behalf of the Maritime Heritage Foundation, a comprehensive non-disturbance survey that completed the non-disturbance sections (phases 1-2) of the project design. The wide ranging initiatives applied included side-scan and multibeam sonar, production of two photomosaics, the recording of all surface features, remote geophysical sensing for ferrous (FADE), non-ferrous (TSS) and other sub-bottom imaging anomalies (SBI), and an environmental and marine biological site assessment contracted to the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. Three sacrificial frames containing metal and wood samples were buried offsite as part of an environmental studies program.

Five papers detailing this non-disturbance work have been published, including 'HMS Victory (Site 25C). Preliminary Results of the Non-Disturbance Shipwreck Survey, 2012.' These scientific papers, as well as eight others related to Victory, are available at www.victory1744.org, a website dedicated to Victory that includes a unique virtual dive trail.