PEORIA, Ill., April 29, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Oceanic Research and Recovery Inc. (Pink Sheets: ORRV), a marine salvage and exploration company, today announced that team members have discovered two shipwrecks in the Philippines.
Preliminary investigations indicate that at least one of the ships located is believed to be a Manila Galleon that was outbound from Manila to Acapulco, Mexico. The second wreck is believed to be an inbound Manila Galleon which would be carrying silver and gold to be traded for oriental goods; a local guide presented team members with a silver coin dated 1786 (King Carlos III) reported to be from this site.
"The objective of the Tradewinds Project has been to locate one of the fabled Manila Galleons; it looks like we might have been successful," said Scott Heimdal, CEO of ORRV. "One ballast pile is located where research said the ship sank and the dimensions are correct. The pile is estimated at over 50 meters long and 15 meters wide. It also lies at depths which made it impossible for any type of salvage operation at the time of loss."
"The other site shows a perfect side scan image of the hull of a sailing ship with a long bowsprit sitting on the bottom minus the masts; the amount of structural preservation is astounding," continued Mr. Heimdal. "This wreck was located where historical records indicate a Manila Galleon was lost. Hundreds of porcelain shards were collected from a reef close to this site which led to the discovery of the wreck. Both wrecks are also of extraordinary size for sailing vessels and Manila Galleons were some of the largest sailing ships ever built."
The Tradewinds Project is the culmination of almost 4 years of development efforts. It is a long term effort planned and organized to locate and recover multiple shipwrecks in the Philippines over the next 5 years. The next phase of operations, planned to start in the next few weeks, will be conducted while working in cooperation with the National Museum of the Philippines and other governmental agencies. Currently ORRV is organizing legal, logistical and operational requirements to proceed with the next phase.
Scheduled work involves additional non-invasive studies of the sites including: high resolution side scan imagery, creation of overall photo mosaics and setting survey points. This data will then be utilized as baseline data in the marine archaeology GIS system regularly used by ORRV on all its projects. This will provide the baseline data used to begin excavation of the wrecks by the team of archaeologists. More information on this sophisticated archaeological tool is available on the ORRV website.
The Philippines is an archipelago composed of over 7000 islands and 13,000 square miles of dangerous reefs and shoals. Present day Manila and the many other ports throughout the islands have been destinations for trading ships for thousands of years.
Valuable shipwrecks can be found throughout the world, but the Philippines are unique. For millennia it was a center of commerce for ships of all nations. Ships entered port laden with gold and silver and traded for beautiful, exotic objects wrought of porcelain, ivory, jade and gold. Ships of all major seafaring countries sailed the waters of the Philippines laden with the wealth of nations. The Philippines is truly a Crossroads of Civilizations.
The Philippines contain an astounding number and variety of shipwrecks, including;
- Inbound Spanish Galleons, British and Dutch East Indiamen loaded with tons of silver and gold
- Outbound Spanish Manila Galleons, British and Dutch East Indiamen loaded with oriental riches
- Ancient oriental trading junks lost over millennia
The cargoes carried from Acapulco to Manila by Spanish Galleons consisted primarily of silver and gold bullion and coins from the mines of Peru and Mexico, which were to be payment for trade goods purchased at the markets in Manila. For the ships of other European nations it was similar; large quantities of precious metal were the trade goods of choice and brokered the best deal for goods as compared to other commodities.
The outbound ships traveling from Manila to Acapulco were equally as valuable but with more diversified and exotic cargoes, including porcelain, gold and silver works of art, church plate, jade and ivory artifacts and chests of pearls and precious stones. The Galleons also carried jewelry, including pendants, earrings, bracelets and rings, as well as gem studded sword hilts, rugs, fans, combs and a wide range of precious spices and drugs. The ships also carried objects carved of sandalwood, gold bells, copper cuspidors and devotional pieces such as crucifixes, reliquaries, rosaries and religious sculptures. Considerable gold in the form of bullion or manufactured articles was also exported to Mexico. The value of these Galleons is more difficult to calculate without having a complete inventory of items aboard, but contemporary documents indicate that their riches were far greater than those carried on the inbound ships.
Historical research conducted during project development has uncovered an abstract of the cargo of a Manila Galleon lost in 1694 en route to Acapulco, near Lubang Island, just south-west of Manila Bay. "In addition to her silks and spices she carried over 197,000 items of Chinese and Japanese porcelain, 47 chests of objects of worked gold, 12 chests of precious stones, two chests of pearls and 423 chests described as 'objects from China.' According to customs' records in Manila, the above mentioned items, which exclude the spices and silks, duty was paid on a cargo value of 7,694,742 pesos. This figure equates to a current valuation in excess of $USD500,000,000."
For more information on the Tradewinds Project visit the ORRV website at www.orrvweb.com.
Safe Harbor Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995
Statements in this press release may be forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Forward-looking information is inherently subject to risks and uncertainties, and actual results could differ materially from those currently anticipated due to a number of risk factors inherent in doing business. Although we believe that the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements are reasonable, we cannot guarantee future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements. The company has no obligation to update these forward-looking statements.
For additional information or to facilitate interviews, please contact:
Terry L. Towery
ORRV Communications Director
ORRV Investor Relations
SOURCE Oceanic Research and Recovery Inc.