Seeking Advice on Shipwreck Discovery

dersegler

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Jul 3, 2021
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What would you do? I am seeking advice or maybe a reality check. I was an active member on Treasurenet many years ago but have been away. It occurred to me that this forum might help me make a decision. I have been a scuba diver for decades and about 15-20 years ago I discovered something of considerable value while exploring a shipwreck. I know what it is, why it is there and it's value; I do not believe there is any archeological value. The facts I stumbled across while diving and doing research to identify the vessel. There may have been a few others who had this esoteric knowledge as a few sister ships around the globe have been pillaged in the noted section to the bewilderment of marine science. I estimate the find about 8 - 10 million dollars in current value, perhaps more. The problem is getting it to the surface. I considered an admiralty claim but first consulted with venture capital, underwater salvage and a private excavation engineer. In every case these entities wanted more information than I was willing to give. Finally word somehow got out and I was relentlessly harassed by state officials demanding information which I refused to provide. I know what it would take and the cost of recovery - it would be major. Actually this particular find is small potatoes for the corporate salvage folks as there are much easier targets for them. I have kept critical detail to myself, After so much frustration with the way government agencies handled this I decided the detail and whereabouts would go to my grave with me . Selfish I know.

Over the past 15 years I have shared my story in detail with about 5 trusted individuals. The location and a few major clues have never been disclosed. Those who have heard the story, the discovery process, the engineering hurdles and political woes have insisted that I should write about it - even if I never give up the critical location detail. Here is my dilemma - now after 15 years, should I indeed write the story? Trust me - it is a great tale along the lines of the Tucker Cross. Should I remain anonymous to prevent being hounded for more information? My geographical location along with some of the more fascinating aspects of this vessel have potential to give away its identity and location to savvy parties. I have thought about revising the story and write it as fiction without revealing clues as to the identity and location of the vessel. I am not looking for fame or money in this endeavor - as a diver and sailor I just know it would be a great story for fellow divers and mariners. I fear however that without some of the detail the story might not be credible.

Have any of you been in a similar situation? What would you do?
 

Mackaydon

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"I know what it is, why it is there and it's value; I do not believe there is any archeological value."
That makes no sense
"
I estimate the find about 8 - 10 million dollars in current value, perhaps more."
And still you believe your find is not of any interest to the archies?
That, also, makes no sense.
Don.......
 

GoDeep

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You can write your story, but if you change the details to make it fiction, it'll just be another fictional treasure tale, oh so common in the treasure rags of past. If you plan to "take it to your grave" as you indicate, why not reveal what you found, at least you'll get credit for the discovery?

Also, since you've identified it's contents and estimated value, you've presumably dived down to the site multiple times documenting and cataloging its contents. Can you share some pictures or video of the contents, nothing that would give away it's location or identity mind you?

What was your previous user name out of curiosity?
 
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SADS 669

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Good luck, whatever you decide?..

Why not choose a younger person who everyone both trusts and can also “walk the walk” ( Black Bart springs to mind) and when you pass over the bar, leave them everything you know so we can then all have your legacy unfolding before our eyes!

We all know our last dive suit has no pockets but your name can last forever!
 
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releventchair

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You've divulged much already.

With your claimed value it has been sought.
Sometimes it only takes one small piece to finish a lead.... Or to create being hunted down for more details. Are you prepared for such?

Fiction vs actual?
Which draws your interests?

When you feel it is best left as is (a site) , then leave it as is. Don't spill the beans.
 

GoDeep

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"I know what it is, why it is there and it's value; I do not believe there is any archeological value."
That makes no sense
"
I estimate the find about 8 - 10 million dollars in current value, perhaps more."
And still you believe your find is not of any interest to the archies?
That, also, makes no sense.
Don.......

As you know all to well, the value of something can be a bit of a shell game. Technically, any sunken sizeable steel ship would be worth 10 million+ in it's copper, stainless, brass, steel and aluminum construction, just waiting to be recycled. Problem is, it may take 10 million just to bring it to the surface and another 10 million to cut it up and process it.

Since he indicates it has no archeological value, we can reasonably assume it's a fairly mundane, post 1900 ship. Anything that went down with the crew (think Edmund Fitzgerald or war ship) or was carrying a manifest of precious metals or the like, or was owned by some tycoon, outlaw or celebrity, or was pre-1900 would surely have archeological interest which he indicated it has none.

Fun fact: A Triton-class submarine uses about 200,000 pounds of copper in it's motors, wiring, plumbing etc! Thats a whole lot of $$$$.
 
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MiddenMonster

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I have thought about revising the story and write it as fiction without revealing clues as to the identity and location of the vessel. I am not looking for fame or money in this endeavor - as a diver and sailor I just know it would be a great story for fellow divers and mariners. I fear however that without some of the detail the story might not be credible.

Why not write a poem instead, with clues in the lines that the reader has to solve in order to find the wreck, and launch an international treasure hunt? I don't think anything like that has ever been done before...:laughing7:
 

JohnWhite

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Why not write a poem instead, with clues in the lines that the reader has to solve in order to find the wreck, and launch an international treasure hunt? I don't think anything like that has ever been done before...:laughing7:

What a novel idea…Who would have thunk

Ed T
 

Magoopeter

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This sort of story always interests me, I am not interested where the wreck is except, is it in international waters or not, I am also not interested in what it is that is valuable.

But can you say why it is hard to get to the surface, is it the size and location within the vessel, or is it the form of what it is or politics or law or all of the above?

I think anything is retrievable, even oil or liquid gold, I have dived on ships with materials that were a by-product of atomic power, materials that did not officially exist in 1941 but they were there, totally illegal to have in your possession worth one million $ a KG, but bring it to the surface and you might as well put a price on your own head, as some found out.

If it is legal have a go, there a few on here that would love to help, even with advice, if you want to right a book, tell the truth, let it go, or if you really want to sell books, then tell your own story truthfully but don?t reveal the position or the object of value, instead write clues into your story that someone can gain the esoteric knowledge, be the under-water Forest Fenn.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Thrill-Chase-Memoir-Forrest-Fenn/dp/0967091780
 
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dersegler

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Thanks to all for your input on my post asking for advice. I sought advice from several sources and have reached the decision not to write the story. Perhaps I will reconsider down the road. I concluded that it would not be a credible story without providing leading details. A comment by Releventchair discussed the possibility of being hunted down for more details. How true- it was unwanted harassment (mainly from bureaucrats) that caused me to bury this 15 years ago. Please don't judge me. If you've had similar experience you know exactly where I am coming from.

Several folks reached out and I wish to offer a few points of clarification. This is not a copper- steel type salvage as was suggested as a possible explanation. The wreck itself is pre-1900 and of course it has archeological value. Forgive me as I did not mean to misrepresent. I was writing my post hastily while unpleasant multitasking. So what was I thinking? I should have stated that the specific find is off the radar grid for marine science. The item was concealed intentionally. As mentioned, several sister ships have been found in different locations and two of them had been selectively pillaged which, per literature, has baffled marine scientists. This led me to believe that the load had not been of general knowledge. Those who have engaged in intensive research will understand that digging for information can be deep and time consuming with breadcrumbs. In my case I was doing research on this wreck and then stumbled on the information while looking for something completely different. I then went to validate the information at the site and put the pieces together. Again, quoting Releventchair's comment, "sometimes it only takes one small piece to finish a lead".

Some were confused with my statement, "I know what it is, why it is there and its value". I indeed know. In addition to the specific object of interest, the wreck had some other awesome finds; a few items reside in a private collection and others were beyond my ability to salvage. International waters? It depends on who you talk to. Governments impose several different lines of jurisdiction based on the nature of the entity. The wreck rests well offshore. Unlike the surrounding topography the wreck rests in an area that is relatively shallow just a bit beyond recreational diving limits. Being far from shore and in open ocean makes for a remote site with limited accessibility due to weather and sea state. I surmise that in my conversations many years ago with venture capital and salvage I had enough plausible and credible information to lead someone to check in with the bureaucrats. That is when the fun started.

Magoopeter inquired, "Can you say why it is hard to get to the surface, is it the size and location within the vessel, or is it the form of what it is or politics or law or all of the above?" Yes to all my friend. Over several years I consulted with excavation engineers and ultimately had a very clear plan to accomplish the salvage. Devising the plan to get the item up took considerable time due to confirmation dives and further explorations making the process long and tedious. About this time I had reached stalemate with venture capitalist over details and soon after the government became involved. Dealing with the political fallout once the item would be brought up finally closed the deal.

Lastly I want to acknowledge MiddenMonster for suggesting the following: "Why not write a poem instead, with clues in the lines that the reader has to solve in order to find the wreck, and launch an international treasure hunt? I don't think anything like that has ever been done before." That is one brilliant idea that I may consider over the next few years.
 
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Magoopeter

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I respect the fact that it is your own research and information and id thank you for sharing it with this group of treasure hungry beings, just a pity we did not get to solve the problem. LB?
 

MiddenMonster

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Lastly I want to acknowledge MiddenMonster for suggesting the following: "Why not write a poem instead, with clues in the lines that the reader has to solve in order to find the wreck, and launch an international treasure hunt? I don't think anything like that has ever been done before." That is one brilliant idea that I may consider over the next few years.

Hmmm...you do realize that was just a humorous comment alluding to the Forrest Fenn treasure, don't you? But if it worked for him, no reason why it can't be repeated in the water. But you should at least try to make some coin off it. Get on the speaking tour circuit and you can clean up.
 

Garscale

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Great thread! I have an amazing treasure story I would dearly love to share. Just a today I started typing it but my better judgment kicked in and I deleted it before posting. I get where you are coming from. Its crazy how many strangers,much less agencies, feel obligated to get in the middle of something like that.
Good luck, steve
 

Garscale

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Great thread! I have an amazing treasure story I would dearly love to share. Just today I started typing it but my better judgment kicked in and I deleted it before posting. I get where you are coming from. Its crazy how many strangers,much less agencies, feel obligated to get in the middle of something like that.
Good luck, steve
 

NowandThenTreasures

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Outstanding find, whatever it may be. Congrats! You discovered it, too bad you have yet to receive historical credit for doing so. Sounds like a Kip Wagner or Mel Fisher worthy treasure story.
From what you have revealed, an analogy might be like discovering a winning lottery ticket that for various reasons you are unable to cash in, because if you tried to do so, many others would try to stake a claim.
Too bad it's turned into a $h;t storm for you, I would love to see a Discovery Channel special or an Oak Island type series on your Discovery. It would be one way to get credit & bring empathy to your situation. Good luck and all the best whatever you decide to do.
 

CaptEsteban

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I would document the discovery as good as possible. You can follow some of the guidelines on the link below. This would be like setting up a " Master Site File " which would include info as per the link. Put your name as the person who discovered it & provided the info, so if later recorded , it would be named after you. Pictures, dates, location, measurements, orientation , depth , are a must , & any other proof as the I.D. of the ship. Be careful about removing ANYTHING from it. Once you have finished doing this work, it is then up to YOU whether or not you wish to report it.

https://www.nps.gov/archeology/submerged/document.htm

Florida Master Site File info, just as a guide.

https://dos.myflorida.com/historical/preservation/master-site-file/documents-forms/
 

ARC

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Lastly I want to acknowledge MiddenMonster for suggesting the following: "Why not write a poem instead, with clues in the lines that the reader has to solve in order to find the wreck, and launch an international treasure hunt? I don't think anything like that has ever been done before." That is one brilliant idea that I may consider over the next few years.

By your finishing words... one can safely assume... (I know, i know... "safely assume"... would technically be a "contradiction in terms")... :P

Um... anyway... You said... "That is one brilliant idea that I may consider over the next few years"...

Which strikes me oddly... for those last few words... "next few years".

IT strikes me FOR this says to me... You have already planned this "process" / "plan" OR whatever this is... that you will be / are fishing for...

Will already... take / last... "years".

No offense but this last part not only strikes me as odd... but says a lot and perhaps "too much" / "much more" than you really wanted.

Just thought i would chime in and point this out to my fellow T-nettians who may be "lured".

Heh.
 
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Garscale

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So if I had a couple hundred G to invest here, when could I expect my return and at approximately what rate?
 

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