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Treasure Ship

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Rolling No More
Photograph by Jonathan Blair, Odyssey Marine Exploration

A corroded and encrusted paddle wheel from the S.S. Republic lies half-buried 1,700 feet (500 meters) below the Atlantic Ocean's surface. On a run from New York City to New Orleans in 1865, the Republic sank in a hurricane off the south Georgia coast, sending a boatload of cargo—and $400,000 in gold and silver coins—to the seafloor. Twenty-five of her 92 passengers perished. Today a group of entrepreneurs are salvaging the ship's cargo and cash, as well as bits of its history. The Republic's got quite a tale to tell. 

First christened the S.S. Tennessee in 1853, it worked as a merchant steamer, pioneering trade routes to South America and transporting fortune seekers westward in the gold rush. During the Civil War it served the South unsuccessfully as a blockade runner. Captured by the North, it became the temporary flagship of Union Admiral David Farragut and was renamed the U.S.S. Mobile before being renamed again as the Republic. After salvage is complete, the remains of its 210-foot (64-meter) frame will be left in the sea, a memorial to the ship's history and last fatal voyage.

Photo Fast Facts

Camera: Nikon 995
Film Type: Digital
Lens: Variable
Speed and F-Stop: Unrecorded
Weather Conditions: 1,700 feet (500 meters) under water.
Time of Day: Unrecorded
Lighting Techniques: Underwater HMI (halogen metal iodide) lights
Special Equipment or Comments: This image is made from a number of smaller digital images and assembled in Adobe Photoshop by Gerhard Seiffert, data manager, Odyssey Marine. The actual images were made from a remotely controlled Nikon 995 digital camera in an underwater housing and shot by Odyssey staff members. The camera was mounted on a remotely operated vehicle (ROV). 

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