LONDON (AP) -- A Florida-based deep-sea salvage company will help explore the wreck of a renowned 18th century British warship it discovered at the bottom of the English Channel four years ago, a charity said Monday.
The newly established Maritime Heritage Foundation said Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc. plans to scan the wreck of the HMS Victory with a robotic submersible to try and find out why the ship sank beneath the waves and whether it carried any treasure.
The foundation's chairman, Robert Balchin, said he hoped the wreck would "give us a unique insight into the world of the mid-18th century Royal Navy," adding that he looked forward to working with Odyssey Marine to protect the site.
HMS Victory was one of the most powerful vessels in the Royal Navy, and sank after it was separated from its fleet by a storm as it was returning home from Portugal.
Odyssey Marine believes the vessel carried 100,000 gold coins when it went down on Oct. 4, 1744.
About 1,000 men died in the disaster. Its name — Victory — was later given to the famous warship commanded by Adm. Horatio Nelson, who defeated the French at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
Independent experts say it's unlikely that the wreck of the earlier Victory is carrying anything of commercial value aside from its 100 bronze canons, some of which Odyssey Marine recovered from the seabed when it discovered the wreck in 2008.
Odyssey Marine Exploration: http://www.shipwreck.net/