Shipwreck Recovery and or salvaging

Dec 8, 2013
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Hi TN community,

I originally started this thread in the Recommended Reading section, but i think the question maybe better asked here instead. I was wondering if there is any good reading material out there in regards to shipwreck recovery & or salvage?
I would consider myself as an amateur historian/archeologist, but would love to learn more about salvaging or recovering a wreck and expand my knowledge on this area for future endeavours.

as always any advise or help is very much appreciated.

Cheers all,
AussieTreasureHunter83
 

Crow

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First thing to learn amigo. One thing about treasure hunting land or sea the goal pasts keep moving amigo regardless of country. Books of successful recoveries are a great reading and gives inspiration. But in today's virtue signaling in governments and relevant authorities, perhaps past ship wreck recoveries or salvage are not relevant in in today's ever changing legal environment?

That said These porcelain vessels and artefacts come from the Tek Sing shipwreck. Tek Sig porcelain cargo had been packed so tightly, that even after nearly 200 years under the silt and coral, many examples were in almost pristine condition. On May 12, 1999, Michael Hatcher discovered the wreck of the Tek Sing in an area of the South China Sea north of Java, east of Sumatra and south of Singapore. His crew raised about 350,000 pieces of the ship’s cargo in what is described as the largest sunken cache of Chinese porcelain ever recovered.

It is the story of an incredible shipping disaster with more than 1600 dead (and was consequently entitled the “Titanic of the East” by Spiegel news magazine), involving economic difficulties and mass emigration in the early 19th century. The porcelain itself was robust and survived almost 200 years in the sea. Never before have experts been able to examine Chinese export porcelain intended for the South East Asian market on this scale.

The catalogue itself broke new ground, becoming a valuable reference work on porcelain in professional circles. It also served as an auction catalogue in conjunction with the auction list featuring all the individual lots.

Hatcher already had two important finds of Chinese porcelain to his name: the Hatcher Collection (from an unidentified Chinese junk) and the Nanking cargo from the Dutch Geldermalsen that sank in 1752. Both cargoes were successfully auctioned in Europe in the 1980s. Hatcher chose Nagel Auktionen, the leading auction company for Asian art on the European continent, to release the items to the market

The importance of the discovery and the auction was emphasized by the commissioning of a special book on the history of the Tek Sing and its cargo. Harper Collins published a book about Mike Hatcher's life written by Hugh Edward and Nigel Pickford and titled Treasures of the Deep. The book The Legacy of the Tek Sing contains an account of the story behind the shipwreck, a tale of treachery and heroism, arrogance and greed, all played out against a background of opium smuggling, piracy and mass emigration. It gives details about the salvage as well as the historical background.

A number of controversies surround the salvaging of historic wreck cargo undertaken by Michael Hatcher. The salvaging of both the Tek Sing and the Geldermalsen have been heavily criticized by archaeologists for stripping archaeological sites of valuable artefacts without recording any context and destroying the less economically valuable parts of the assemblage, such as the ships themselves.

Seven containers of the Tek Sing cargo were seized by Australian authorities pursuant to their Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986 as the Indonesian government had confirmed that they had been illegally exported from its territory.

This confirmation came too late for much of the cargo however, and it was able to continue its journey and be sold at auction in the EU. On 12 September 2001, the 71 939 seized ceramics were returned by Australia to Indonesia.

As of 2010 there was warrant for arrest of Hatcher by the Indonesians. Michael Hatcher Police say Hatcher is being hunted for trying to smuggle thousands of pieces of Ming dynasty (1368-1644) porcelain out of the Indonesia. Mike lives on retired the gold coast today he is 83 if he is still alive.

Luc Heymans was involved in the Cirebon Wreck Salvage in Indonesia between February 2004 - march 2013.
The recovery of such treasures is usually contentious. “Treasure is trouble,” says John Chatterton, an American wreck diver, who co-hosted the popular television series Deep Sea Detectives – and this find was no exception. When estimates for the hundreds of recovered objects reached sums in the tens of millions of dollars, the Indonesian government baulked at the agreement it had struck with Heymans and threw two of his head divers in jail.

Eventually, after a much-publicised auction failed to attract bidders and the government was unable to find fault with the wreck salvage company, the Indonesian authorities relented. Cosmix was allowed to take the 50 per cent share that had been agreed to and quietly found a buyer. Qatar Museums was interested in what the treasure said about the country’s extensive historic trade connections and acquired the pieces.

Selling artefacts is what sets underwater archaeology and treasure hunting apart. But for a private salvage company, that is the only way to recoup expenses and maybe even make a profit, although that’s not easy.

Heymans spends a lot of time on his 26-metre sailing catamaran Lonestar, which he charters, but the lure of sunken treasures isn’t diminished.

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Any way two interesting stories to look up.

Cheers Crow
 

Crow

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No amigo that is Lucs! Last I heard of him he was in the Seychelles. Although I am quite partial to Catamarans. Although strange enough I am in the region keeping low profile these days. Still Keeping the officials governments guessing? living under the radar with smoke and mirrors enjoying the company of beautiful women like all retired pirates should be? And admitting doing nothing?

Treasure Amigos? What treasure?

Crow
 

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Crow

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You have be very weary and cautious these days. I have seen assets of retired treasure hunters sized by the state as proceeds of crime legislation. Where you have physically prove in count of law where and how you have obtained your assets years after obtaining them.

As what happened to mike Hatcher 71000 porcelain objects take from his property on the gold coast. Every agreement treasure hunters had with Indonesia Indonesians, broke the agreement one way or another then pressure the Australian government to size property on their behalf. Many countries are following suit.

You can have your treasure but cannot get permit to get it out of the country.

249944518.jpg.gallery.jpg


Many countries have adopted the protocol as anything over given age is not deemed antique but antiquity. And the cut off point various from country to country. This you have to prove (Provence ) it was in private hands before 1974.

Thus its harder to sell off through auction houses. Or transport those objects over international borders.

Crow
 

Crow

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There is people making money from shipwrecks.

Finding treasure in a sunken shipwreck may seem like a myth or fantasy to some, but for Anthony Clake, an executive at Marshall Wace in London, it’s apparently a reality. Recently, a Bloomberg investigation revealed that the hedge fund manager has been directing and investing in high-tech operations to recover treasures from the bottom of the ocean.

With billions of dollars behind him, Clake has sent multiple marine robots and sonar systems thousands of feet below the sea to make 3D maps of the seabed. This technology aided Clake in the 2016 discovery of the SS Coloradan, which contained drums of gold precipitate. Another find, off the coast of West Africa, unearthed 50 tons of silver coins. Bloomberg reported that the discovery was kept secret, the coins melted down and sold, and everyone involved had to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

Under international law, anyone who discovers a shipwreck must report it to the authorities. In 2015, the San José, a sunken Spanish galleon, was discovered off the coast of Colombia by one of Clake’s team members. The bounty aboard the San José was valued at billions of dollars, but the Colombian government and Bolivian indigenous groups halted the plans to recover items from the ship.

Competing claims from other treasure hunters and governments are not uncommon, which can lead treasure hunters to engage in shady business. According to the Bloomberg Business week investigation, Clake’s teams have reportedly performed “wet storage,” which is the act of moving finds to different underwater locations to avoid government interference.

As of now, it is unclear how much money Clake has made off deep-sea treasure hunting.

Coloradan

Unlike odyssey they try to keep out of the lime light. Main stream media hardly reported much of them at all. All involved sign non disclosure agreements.

Cairo

they also salvaged

Benmohr

Crow
 

grantler

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Hi everyone ,
there are a few books also on successful treasure diving :-)
Goldfinder by K.Jessup 1998 about the "Edinburgh"
The sunken Gold by J.A.Williams 2017 about the "Laurentic"
The Egypt´s Gold by D.Scott 1932 "Egypt"
HMS Colossos by R.Morris 1979 "Colossus"
Dragon Sea by F.Pope 2007 "Vietnam Wreck"
The Elinamite and its treasure by Wade Doak 1969 " off the coast of New Zealand "
The Nanking Cargo by M.Hatcher 1987 South China Sea

Thank´s Crow for the inside Infos :-))

grantler
 

Crow

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Careful what you wish for amigo.

Speaking of wet storage or removal of treasure to secure location. That happens more often then many people realize.

There is group that is sitting on treasure that has stalled on revolving door of governments over ownership . 1.5 million silver Mexican 8 Reales 500 thousand Escudo Gold Colonial Mexico Coins (Pre - 1821) Among other artifacts. That governments do not want to deal with it. They went through 10 years of empty promises after another by a revolving door of governments that did not want to deal with legal implications of it.

My guess it will be melted down for gold and silver content. It would be Worth much much more as objects, but the powers to be are too arrogant and blind to see benefits of such a discovery if they made a deal and actually honored their agreements. But it flies in the face of UNESCO convention that has become noose around countries necks who has signed up to it.

If they go public they will have Spain screaming national patrimony screaming mine mine mine and bankrupt the original finders in the courts as governments have deeper pockets than salvors.

The San Jose is a classic example.

Crow
 

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UnderMiner

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I would just sell the treasure to wealthy private treasure collectors and simply make them sign a non-disclosure agreement forbidding them from discussing where the treasure came from for a specific period of time. This way the history stays intact, the collector gets what they want, the treasure hunter gets paid, and no government shenanigans can take place.
 

Crow

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Gidday Underminer

It sounds good but does not work in practice. Maybe okay for one or two pieces but when you try to of load high volumes of coinage your flooding market with coin lowering THE RARITY value. Plus most wealthy collectors they only want to buy coins independently graded. Most wealthy collectors use coin collecting as a vehicle to hide or park assets.. They rarely pay over melt value if its not professionally graded.

Just like corporations who create foundations and buy art valued at astronomical figures. The object is highly over inflated for what it is worth. like a Picasso for example. They are parking money from the tax man. It become an asset they can borrow on.

Coin collectors do not want to pay anything over bullion value for an ungraded coin if there is chance of it being counterfeit. There are counterfeit coins out there! Plus the story of its recovery adds value to the coins. For example Mel fishers Coins are verified being part of recovered treasure has a story adding to the value of bullion vale of the coin.

How can you tell if a Atocha coin is real? is proving the Provenance: Authentic Atocha coins come with welll documented histories and certificates of authenticity, tracing their recovery back to the shipwreck. Mint Markings: Inspect the coin for mint markings, date, and denomination, as these should align with the historical records.

As for non disclosure agreements it only a vehicle to frighten the hired hands into silence. How can treasure illegally recovered be covered in court of law under a non disclosure agreement? There is member here I will not mention his name did time in jail because disgruntled crew member who signed a non disclosure agreement blabbed to authorities.

Coin dealers and collectors want rare coins not thosands of same coins devaling thier collections. Asking them to sign a non disclosure agreement would sound alarmed bells that they are buying some thing illealy obtained or fake?

Its human nature to say too much without realising it?. Just as I am saying things here and now? Am I breaching a signed non disclosure agreement? I have signed a few over the years.

Converting illict treasure in lquid assets is not as easy as one imagine? Not without a massive price discount most likely under melt value. For the buyer that is thier guaranteed profit margin.

And the more people invoved some one inevidbly talks.

And you know what the insane thing is its better not to be believed than believed? But that is how it is amigo.

Crow
 

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PDY25

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Odyssey also suspected Clake of salvaging the Mantola from under their noses while they had a salvage contract with the DfT. They believe he used wet storage to keep the silver until after Odyssey's salvage contract had run out and then proceeded to declare the find to the RoW days later.
 

Crow

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I would not be surprised since the British government abandoned Commodity Wreck program and reverted back to woke virtue signaling. I suspect a change of government was behind that decision? Deep water recoveries is turning into as service contractor deep water mining industries and contracts off various government agencies. Even Odyssey has moved away from wreck hunting. There is too much litigation and conflicting conflicts of interest.

What I would of loved to have been privy to is see the list of 20th century shipwrecks that was included on the Commodity Wreck program?

Side thing Odyssey is getting involved with mineral exploration in Bismark sea mineral explanation leases. I had large amount of shares in Canadian deep sea mining company Nautilus that went broke in 2019 and lost a fortune. By 2023 I have doubled my net worth since 2019 through various other diversified investments and projects.

Yet its made me weary of deep sea mining as it plagued with revolving door of environmental groups anywhere in the world challenging any mining attempts even when following all the environment protocols are in place. That and left wing belt and road funded governments caving into pressure to pressure major stakeholders involved in many high value project elsewhere to with draw funding starving the project of capital.

Odyssey will still be sailing into stormy seas amigos. in the deep sea mineral exploration game. For them to make money they have to live off funding from deep sea mineral exploration companies using money from private equity firms actually turning a find into the deep sea mining project.

Crow
 

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