Green light for Salvaging of Gold-Cargo Shipwreck in East Timor

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Posted by Steffen Almstadt on March 13, 2005 at 23:52:28:

SEA Explorer AG Embarks on Large-Scale Project

Green light for Salvaging of Gold-Cargo Shipwreck in East Timor

The Government of East Timor signs five-year contract exclusively commissioning SEA Explorer AG with search and salvaging of sunken shipwrecks

Frankfurt a.M., 19/03/05, Senior Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Josť Ramos-Horta, signed an exclusive five-year contract on 19/03/05 in Frankfurt a.M. with the salvaging company Sea Explorer AG, commissioning the German firm with the search and archaeological salvaging of sunken ships off the coast of East Timor. The initial salvaging project will be performed on 18th century European trade ship "L'Utile", the precise position and cargo - including over two tonnes of gold - of which specialists at Sea Explorer AG were able to establish from historical sources.

Even before the Dutch conquered the legendary spice islands, the Indo-Pacific Ocean had already been famous for riches and sunken treasures: hundreds, maybe even thousands of Arab and Chinese, Portuguese and Dutch trade ships sank in the treacherous waters, laden with gold, silver, gems and finest porcelain. This means bright prospects for Sea Explorer AG's plans to locate and archaeologically salvage as many of these ships as possible off the coast of East Timor over the coming five years.

The large-scale project will be launched with the search for a shipwreck containing a cargo of gold: In secret government dispatches dating back to the 18th century, Sea Explorer AG specialists have made a sensational discovery. Historical sources previously thought to be lost not only give detailed information on an easily accessible shipwreck position of the French frigate "L'Utile", they also state its cargo, including over two tonnes of gold - ideal conditions for a successful archaeological salvaging enterprise. Klaus Keppler, CEO at Sea Explorer AG, is more than pleased by the well-founded research results, but above all by the collaboration with the Government of East Timor:
"The signing of the contract documents the trust that the Government of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste places in us. As a socially conscious company, our work is not only based on scientific and archaeological criteria, national and international regulations: We would also like to make an effective contribution to sustainable development in the region. We want to help the people there in overcoming their bitter poverty. This is something we discuss with those affected. We want to support them in realising their vision of a better future. Our longstanding experience has also shown that the more reliable and sustainable the partnership, the greater the commercial success in large-scale salvaging operations with such important cultural historic and monetary values."

At the company headquarters in Sasbach (near Freiburg in Baden), the finishing touches are being put to the operation plans. Sea Explorer AG wants to begin as fast as possible with the search and salvaging operations. "Our experience with the salvage work on the German emigrant ship "Cimbria" and the close cooperation with archaeologists and historians will permit us to carefully salvage and subsequently optimally process the cargo of this valuable wreck.", says Klaus Keppler.

Sea Explorer AG was founded in December 1999 by Klaus Keppler and Herbert Linkesch as the consequent further development of their previous salvaging company since 1993. For over 30 years, Klaus Keppler has also been successful in managing companies such as Nautik GmbH in Freiburg, Germany or the Cologne-based group Jade Peilschiff GmbH & Co. It wasn't long before SEA Explorer AG's was able to celebrate first successes: The team discovered the "Merchant Jamaica", flagship of pirate Henry Morgan, off the Haitian coast. Another salvaging operation was conducted on the emigrant ship "Cimbria", which sank in the North Sea near Borkum on its way to New York in 1883. Over the course of this particular salvaging operation, the Sea Explorer AG team was able to salvage several tonnes of valuable porcelain.

Press Contact:

Steffen Almstadt
T + F: +49 (0) 221 - 139 34 99 / Mobile: 0163 - 289 84 70

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