Renowned shipwreck reportedly discovered
TAMPA, Fla. - Deep-sea explorers who found $500 million in sunken treasure two years ago say they have discovered another shipwreck: a legendary British man-of-war that sank in the English Channel 264 years ago.
The wreckage of the HMS Victory, found in about 330 feet of water, could carry an even bigger jackpot. Research indicates the ship was carrying four tons of gold coins when it sank in a storm, said Greg Stemm, cofounder of
So far, two brass cannons have been recovered from the wreck, Stemm said. The Florida-based company said it is negotiating with the British government over collaborating on the project.
"This is a big one, just because of the history," Stemm said. "Very rarely do you solve an age-old mystery like this."
Thirty-one brass cannons and other evidence on the wreck allowed definitive identification of the HMS Victory, a 175-foot sailing ship that was separated from its fleet and sank on Oct. 4, 1744, with at least 900 men aboard, the company said.
The ship was the largest and most heavily armed vessel of its day. It was the inspiration for the HMS Victory famously commanded by Admiral Horatio Nelson decades later.
Odyssey was searching for other shipwrecks in the English Channel when it came across the Victory. Stemm would not say exactly where the ship was found for fear of attracting plunderers.
"We found this more than 50 miles from where anybody would have thought it went down," Stemm said. Federal court records filed by Odyssey in Tampa seeking the exclusive salvage rights said the site is 25 to 40 miles from the English coast, outside of its territorial waters.
"Assuming the wreck is indeed that of a British warship, her remains are sovereign immune," said a Ministry of Defense spokesman on condition of anonymity. "This means that no intrusive action may be taken without the express consent of the United Kingdom."
Odyssey announced in 2007 it had raised 17 tons of silver coins from a shipwreck off Portugal. The company later said it believed the wreck to be the Spanish galleon Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes y las Animas.