EXPEDITION SCHEDULE

 

 

1/ Historical research in archives

 

The archival research is very important in this activity. Often long, it has always to be done properly. It allows determining with accuracy the location of the searched shipwreck, to evaluate its interest, to facilitate its survey and its further identification.

 

 

 

 

2/ Local information

 

This information comes from fishermen and sailors. These people have capital information that may complete the archival data (porcelain fragments on the shore, local wreckage legends, underwater dangers for the fishing nets, topographic anomalies of the sea bottom…).

 

 

3/ Permits

 

This is one of the more delicate parts of our activity.

We have a real know-how to obtain the permits for survey and salvage, based on local and national contacts at the highest levels.

 

 

4/ Survey / Identification

 

We may consider two types of shipwrecks :

-          - The old shipwrecks (wood).

-          - The modern shipwrecks (metal).

 

We may consider two types of depths :

-          - The shallow shipwrecks.

-          - The deep shipwrecks.

 

The only efficient method to localize a shipwreck is to square systematically the research zone.

Easy in its principle, this method is often difficult because of the peculiar work conditions (bad weather, streams, tides…). A guiding system, coupled with a precise navigation system, is necessary.

This allows establishing the precise map and the nature of the sea bottom (rocks, seaweeds, sand, vase, coral…).

 

a/ Visual observation:

 

In shallow waters, we use divers with underwater scooters. They move in spiral around a point or squaring systematically the research zone.

 

 

In the depths 15-20 meters, we can use aerial or satellite photos. Unfortunately, these techniques cannot detect all artefacts.

 

In deeper waters, we use, in general, a R.O.V. (Remote Operated Vehicle) equipped with a video camera connected in closed circuit to a control screen at surface.

 

b/ Electronic observation:

The previous techniques (describes here above) cannot be used if the visibility is bad or if the shipwreck is buried. So, from a ship, we use a sound system as a side-scan sonar or a sub-bottom profiler. We use also a magnetic system as a proton magnetometer or a marine acoustic positioning system.

After discovering the wreck, we have to confirm her identity, determinate her homogeneity and her extent, using marine metal detectors.

 

 

 

5/ Study & salvage.

After identification of the shipwreck site, we use stereo-photogrammetric methods, study with plans, photos and drawings.

 

 

 

 

To clear the artefacts, we use air-lifts or water-lifts supplied by high and low-pressure compressors, to suck the sediments.

 

The artefacts are picked up by hand and brought to surface with parachutes. Compressors will supply ‘narghile’ systems, ‘galeazzi’ spears and marine jack-hammers.

 

 

6/ Treatement / Conservation

 

The artefacts are sensitive to the mean change (sea water to free air). Organic materials disappear at first and metals and ceramics are also corroded.

As soon as they are taken off the sea, we have to start cleaning, stabilization, preservation and consolidation.

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7/ Promotion & sales

 

Once the artefacts are brought to the surface, treated and exported, an international promotion campaign will be launched through the media (television, radio, newspapers, specialized press, Internet) to prepare the marketing of the artefacts.

 

The recovered artefacts are mainly:

Porcelains;

Precious stones;

Gold and silver coins + marked ingots;

Precious metals (bars…);

Jewels and goldsmith pieces;

Navigation instruments (astrolabes, compasses…);

Personal sailor objects;

Weapons (cannons, swords, pistols…);

Various objects (bells, anchors…).

 

 

 

Firstly, a selection of the more remarkable artefacts (about 10% of the total) will be sold by public auction, during a week-long event.

This sale will be a powerful promotional and communication tool for the public at large.

Then, the remaining artefacts will be sold as follows:

- Priority sales to international museums and private collections;

- Public sales organized by international auction houses (ex: Sotheby’s, Christie’s, Bergé…) in Hong-Kong, Paris, Amsterdam, Zurich, London, New-York…);

- Sales on Internet.

 

 

A first share of profits is made on a 50/50 basis with the local government.

 

Then, the investors are reimbursed, in priority and in totality, for their initial investment.

 

After this reimbursement, the investors and the promoters of the expedition share the net profits 50% for the investors and 50% for the promoters.

 

 

8/ Valorisation

 

One of the important aspects of our activity is to assist the countries welcoming us in the valorisation of the cultural artefacts belonging to their patrimony. We help them develop and promote a museum which will generate a touristic and cultural development. In the future we can imagine creating a team of architects and curators who will on specific demand assist them in museum development of the salvaged cultural patrimony. They will also form local people to their techniques.

This activity will be organized by our Foundation which will receive a percentage on the sales in order to establish the credibility and respectability of the project allowing it to obtain public or private sponsoring. The shipwreck studies will be published in scientific revues for the specialists and popular publications for public at large.

 

 

A TV film and an itinerant exhibition in major international capitals could be organized.

These actions offer several opportunities: then help sharing with a great number of people the esthetical and cultural aspects of the salvaged patrimony, contributing to the notoriety of the project for sponsors and grow the commercial value for the sales.

 

Other actions could be planned, generating complementary profit sources :

 

- Lectures

- Various merchandising actions

- A ‘prestige’ sponsoring

- Written, audiovisual and video rights

- A permanent show on the marine treasure theme.

 

A part of the benefits will go to a charitable association.

 

 

 

 

 

9/ Security

We are very sensitive to security of members of the team, artefacts and equipments on the sites during the whole duration of the expeditions. We use our own security service (so to avoid the risks of data leak) specialized in protection.