The Odyssey Explorer: Deep Ocean Recovery Platform

Price: Way more than you can afford!

High Tech Treasure Hunter

The Odyssey Explorer is a 251-foot state-of-the-art, dynamically positioned ship owned and operated by Odyssey Marine Explorations. Odyssey calls it a “deep ocean archaeological platform” and while the company has done some first rate marine archeology, the real purpose of the Odyssey Explorer is to search for and recover sunken treasure; and so far she’s doing a pretty good job.

odyssey explorer deep ocean salvage ship seen from the front
lab techs onboard the Odyssey Explorer treasure salvage ship cleaning coins

The Odyssey Explorer has been instrumental in recovering two of the largest sunken treasures ever brought up from the deep, worth over 600 million dollars combined!

Read about them here: Lost Gold: The S.S. Republic

Odyssey purchased the Odyssey Explorer in August of 2003 and immediately began tricking the vessel out with the additional technology required to search for deep ocean wrecks. Today the ship is the most advanced deep ocean archaeological platform in the world.

Nearly 40 members of the crew, technical and scientific staff, live and work on the ship. Operations continue around the clock.

The Explorer is a technical marvel, but it can only operate on top of the water – unfortunately, all the booty is under the water, sometimes miles down… and that’s where ZEUS comes in…

ZEUS (ROV)

Zeus Rov remotely operated vehicle on board the Odyssey Explorer

The ZEUS remotely operated vehicle (ROV) is the centerpiece of Odyssey Explorer’s advanced robotic recovery system. This unmanned vehicle acts as the crews eyes, ears and hands at the bottom of the ocean.

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High-resolution video signals from the onboard cameras are fed through advanced fiber optics to the surface where ZEUS operators control the vehicle’s movement using a panel full of buttons and joysticks that would make any video game junkie drool.

The ROV is equipped with two Schilling seven-function manipulator arms which provide for exceptional dexterity and allow the operators to grab fragile objects like porcelain cups without damaging them. Gold coins are plucked from their silty resting places one at a time so as not to scratch them and ruin their numismatic value.

ZEUS was originally designed for advanced deep-ocean fiber optic cable maintenance, but the engineers at Odyssey made some modifications, adding and improved upon the existing technology. The result is a
high-tech vehicle that’s perfectly suited for the rigors and precise handling required by delicate shipwreck excavation far below the ocean’s surface.

ZEUS Tech Specs

  • Dimensions: Height: 9.5′ Length: 10.5′ Width: 10.5′
  • Weight in Air: 8 Tons
  • Operating Depth: 2,500 meters (8,200 ft.)
  • Power & Propulsion: 150KW/200 HP 8 thrusters
  • Speed: 3 Kts
  • Manipulators: 2x Schilling 7 Function Conan spatial correspondent manipulators
  • Handling System: Knuckle-boom Crane Launch/Recovery
  • Track Modules: Can be installed for stable sterile area operations w/proportional controls

Editors Note : The Odyssey Explorer has just purchased a new ROV which they call ZEUS 2. Apparently it has nearly twice the power as the original ZEUS. I’ll post the stats when they become available.

The Discovery Channel is making an 11-part series about Odyssey Marine Explorations and their salvage operations that will air sometime in 2009.  It will take place mainly on the Odyssey Explorer.

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About the Author

CM Burns
CM Burns
CM Burns has been a music video director, a cameraman for Nat Geo, has recorded ancient Tibetan chants in India and swum with whales in Baja, California. Currently living in the Philippines you will find him anywhere Adventure happens.
CM Burns
CM Burns
CM Burns has been a music video director, a cameraman for Nat Geo, has recorded ancient Tibetan chants in India and swum with whales in Baja, California. Currently living in the Philippines you will find him anywhere Adventure happens.
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