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美寻宝公司发现海底沉船 上万斤黄金待回收

世界名人网副总编高茹琨报道           于 May 12, 2014 at 08:31:01:

世界名人网讯 美国寻宝公司奥德赛海洋探索公司在南卡罗莱纳州海岸一艘沉船中打捞出27公斤黄金(1287.80, -7.00, -0.54%),当前价值约131万美元(约合人民币818万元)。据报道,这艘名为“中美洲”号的沉船长达85米,1857年,该船从加州运送黄金时遭遇飓风,在南卡罗来纳州海域沉没,船上425人遇难。


  奥德赛海洋勘探公司目前已经获得了挖掘中美洲号(SS Central America)沉船的独家合同,将对沉没在海底的黄金进行完整挖掘。

  这艘名为“中美洲”号的沉船长达85米,1857年,该船从加州运送黄金时遭遇飓风,在南卡罗来纳州海域沉没,船上425人遇难。据说,该船上共运载19吨黄金,包括金锭、新铸金币以及477名乘客私人携带的黄金。

  上世纪80年代由于出现法律纠纷,打捞行动被终止。2013年,俄亥俄州法庭指定奥德赛公司继续打捞黄金。打捞出27公斤黄金包括五根金条和两个金币,其中一个金币铸造于1850年的费城,另一个铸造于1857年的旧金山。之前发现的金条和金币是在对沉船遗址进行勘探的时候发现的。据奥德赛海洋勘探公司官员称,公司研究人员正在对水下位置进行记录,而且计划对沉船进行完整的挖掘。

  有专家估计,仍然留在沉船上的黄金价值超过8600万美元(约合人民币5.37亿元)。

  “SS Central America”号沉船有85米长,在1853年首次下水时曾被命名为“SS George Law”号。它在沉没之前,完成了巴拿马和纽约之间的43次往返。这艘沉船的残骸最早是在1988年被确定的位置,它沉没于距离南卡罗来纳州海岸257公里的2200米深水中。

  从1988到1991年,人们通过回收作业成功从整个沉船遗址中找到了整个沉船大约5%的黄金。奥德赛海洋勘探公司现在拥有探索并恢复沉船宝藏的独家权利。公司官员在一份声明中称,沉船遗址黄金的真正价值仍然有待确认,一旦了解找回黄金的重量、品质以及形态,它们的最终价值才能够得到确认。

  除了金条和金币之外,两小时的潜水勘探也发现了一个瓶子、一块陶瓷以及沉船木质结构样本等物品。奥德赛公司的官员称,公司的勘探团队也计划从沉船遗址收集生物样本,借此让研究人员了解深海的生物进程。


Out of Wreckage, Lives Emerge

By WILLIAM J. BROADJULY 28, 2014


A gold puzzle ring recovered from the wreckage of the S.S. Central America. Credit Recovery Limited Partnership

A treasure-laden ship that has lain silent on the Atlantic seabed for more than 150 years is giving up some of its secrets, as explorers who have revisited it for the first time in two decades detail in reports on their recovery operations. The sunken hulk, off South Carolina, has so far given up 45 gold bars, 47 pieces of gold jewelry, more than 2,000 gold coins and some 11,500 silver coins.

Other retrieved items, including a pair of glasses, speak of the lives lost. Eerily, the explorers found some 60 ambrotypes, a kind of early photograph on glass plates. The photographs, which are being left in the ship’s debris field until a conservation plan can be devised, portray miners and in one case a man and woman, their portrait set off by an oval mat.

The ship, the S.S. Central America, was steaming for New York in September 1857 when a hurricane sent it down with 425 people and tons of California gold aboard. The bones of the side-wheeler were discovered in 1988 more than a mile beneath the waves. But dreams of fabulous wealth fell apart as insurers and angry investors also filed claims.

After the original finder fled and became a legal fugitive in 2012, a court in Ohio appointed a receiver charged with recovering as much treasure as possible for creditors and duped investors. The receiver hired a company to revisit the shipwreck.

On April 15, the company, Odyssey Marine Exploration of Tampa, Fla., lowered a robot to the site and brought up five gold bars weighing 66 pounds — the metal alone is worth about $1.2 million, but could fetch even more as artifacts. The preliminary step opened a new chapter meant to raise the remaining treasure and explore the shipwreck.

To date, Odyssey has filed three monthly reports on its recovery efforts with the court-appointed receiver, Ira O. Kane, a Columbus, Ohio, lawyer and businessman. The legal action centers on Columbus because the ship’s discoverer who later fled the law, Thomas G. Thompson, made that city his base of operations.

Odyssey’s reports are laced with color photographs of the wreckage and treasure, on the bottom and in conservation. The largest gold bar recovered to date measures about 10 inches long and weighs roughly 22 pounds — worth about $415,000 as metal at current prices.

The jewelry includes a gold puzzle ring. Its six interconnected loops — as is usual for rings of this type, which jewelers devised centuries ago, often as wedding rings — come apart readily but are difficult to put together again, forming a mechanical puzzle of complex design. Its closure device features a motif of clasping hands.

“The gold gets the headlines,” Mr. Kane said in a statement. But the archaeological finds and scientific discoveries, he added, “will deliver significant educational benefits for years to come.”


Some of the thousands of gold and silver coins and early photographic plates found in the S.S. Central America, which sank off South Carolina in 1857. Credit Recovery Limited Partnership

A major find still lying on the bottom is a large iron safe, its door corroded after more than a century in briny seawater. The exploratory team directed its large tethered robot, equipped with a manipulator arm, to open the door.

The safe contained several packages, which the robot removed. Two small packets, tied with twine and sealed with red wax, “appear to be filled with paper” and have been put in safekeeping “until they can be opened and studied in a proper conservation laboratory,” a report noted.

Other items found in the safe include a pistol and two cotton garments wrapped tightly around gold coins and gold nuggets.

A pouch on one garment came open and produced a small fortune in gold coins known as double eagles, which had a face value of $20 apiece in the 19th century. Today, coins of similar provenance are sold online for $9,500 to $110,000 each. The pouch held 134 of coins.

Exploration of the debris field also yielded a sextant, a navigational device used to determine the angle between a celestial object and the horizon. The last of the three monthly reports said the instrument may have been used to fix the position of the Central America “until she sank.”

A version of this article appears in print on July 29, 2014, on page D3 of the New York edition with the headline: Out of Wreckage, Lives Emerge. Order Reprints|Today's Paper|Subscribe




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