The M/S Explorer cruise ship sinks hours after hitting an iceberg off the coast of the Antarctic, in this photo released by the Chilean Army November 23, 2007. Reuters/Chilean Navy/Handout

Valuable artefacts lie not only on land but also deep within the oceans, including forgotten ships long been claimed by the seas. These ships can answer many questions about the day-to-day life of ordinary people working on the seas, possibly even filling the gaps that may be missing in the pages of history books. Locating and recovering these ships present a number of obstacles an ordinary person is not equipped to deal with.

Blue Water Ventures International, Inc. (OTCPK:BWVI) says it has proven successful in doing so. BWVI is a shipwreck exploration company founded in 2005 by W. Keith Webb. It has spent years researching and exploring shipwreck sites in the Caribbean, North and Central America. There are an estimated 4,000 shipwrecks within these areas alone, and each has a story to share.

In its early years, the company was permitted to work on the Santa Margarita wreck site off Key West, Florida, and had success recovering over US$16 million (AU$20.54 million) in gold, silver and precious gems. BWVI has also worked successfully in other permitted areas including the 1715 Fleet off the east coast of Florida. Silver and gold coins, as well as unusual artefacts, continue to be recovered to this day.

BWVI became a publicly-traded company as part of its Phase II development plan in order to increase its operations. The transition has paved the way for more opportunities to expand into deeper water projects.

Technology used

BWVI uses state-of-the-art technology in its shipwreck recovery operations. The equipment includes side scan sonar, caesium magnetometers, underwater metal detectors, exclusive software for planning and recording data and oceanic satellite imaging.

The recovery vessel Blue Water Rose and the survey vessel Southern Rose II are fully equipped with onboard computers for survey, plotting and mapping. It also maintains an ongoing program of testing and adapting new technologies for use in the marine environment.

Before explorations and recovery operations

The company performs research and collaborates with historians and marine archaeologists to validate potential shipwreck sites. It also consults historical archives for any leads concerning the potential location of wrecks, manifests and other hidden details. Using all of the available information, it can formulate an archaeological sound approach for a successful recovery.

Distinguished service

In addition to the research, BWVI cooperates with governmental guidelines for shipwreck recovery in order to keep the integrity and providence of each shipwreck. Protecting resources and preservation of the underwater environment are of utmost importance to BWVI.

Recovered artefacts are photographed, tagged and any additional significant details are recorded using on-board computer plotting database program. Conservation and preservation of artefacts begins immediately.

The company uses the recovered artefacts to share the history of these recovered shipwrecks with the public. Many learning tools can be used from this small but vital industry, not just the past, but environmental conservation, excavation and archaeology, material science and metallurgy, weather patterns and more. BWVI continues to share many unique artefacts with museums to showcase the treasures recovered and stimulate the public’s interest in underwater exploration and treasure recovery.