Odyssey Marine’s “Irish project”

The Irish Times’ marine correspondent, Lorna Siggins, notes an interesting addendum to the US company Odyssey Marine Exploration’s confirmation of the site of the SS Gairsoppa – and, potentially, 200 tonnes of silver.  From the Irish Times report

THE US marine exploration company which has located a British wartime shipwreck with £150 million worth of silver in the Atlantic has also been surveying southwest Irish waters where there are a number of “commodity” wrecks.

The Naval Service has confirmed that it notified the company’s research ship Odyssey Explorer some weeks ago that it should notify the Irish authorities of its activities.

It said the Naval Service came across the vessel surveying some 25 miles west of the Blasket islands, in Co Kerry on August 2nd.

Under international law, a ship undertaking scientific research should inform the relevant state, and should be licensed to tow a sidescan sonar in territorial waters.

Odyssey Marine Exploration told The Irish Times yesterday that it has been working off the Irish coast, but outside territorial waters. It would not divulge details of the work.

It said the Irish project was separate to that involving the successful location last week of the SS Gairsoppa with 200 tonnes of silver on board – said to be in 4,700 metres of water some 300 miles off the Irish coast.

The Irish Times report goes on to say

A number of vessels, including so-called “commodity ships” were sunk in the busy wartime shipping lane off the southwest Irish coast. As these ships are less than 100 years old, they are not protected under the 1987 National Monuments Act.

The Department of Heritage confirmed the Odyssey Explorer had recently been working a sea corridor near Tearaght Island, the most westerly of the Blaskets.