Treasure Ship Resurfaced
She has returned……..once again!
Shinil – a South Korean domestic appliance brand – recently claimed that it found a sunken Russian warship with an enormous amount of gold in its secret vault. The 6,200-tonne vessel – Dmitrii Donskoi – went down off an eastern Korean island during the 1904-05 Russo-Japanese war.
Rescue teams from South Korea, Britain and Canada found the shipwreck 1,400ft below the sea with the help of two submarines. The Russian Imperial Navy cruiser, which has been discovered near South Korea’s Ulleungdo Island, started its voyage from St Petersburg in August 1883. According to South Korean officials, Russia assigned the vessel to the Second Pacific Squadron after the Japanese destroyed the Russian ships deployed in the Far East during the early stages of the Russo-Japanese War. However, the squadron was intercepted by the Japanese fleet in May 1905 in the Battle of Tsushima after a lengthy voyage from the Baltic. The cruiser was not seriously damaged during the initial fighting and made an attempt to continue on to Vladivostok after the first day’s fighting. Several groups of Japanese warships spotted Dmitrii Donskoi the following day and it was badly damaged in the resulting combat. Captain Lebedev ordered the crew ashore near Ulleungdo Island and had Dmitrii Donskoi scuttled offshore. While 60 of its 591 passengers onboard lost their life, 120 received serious injuries.
In 2000, Donga construction company had made a similar claim and the value of the bankrupt company’s share increased almost immediately. Later, South Korea rubbished the claim, saying that it didn’t find Dmitrii Donskoi.
Now, Shinil has announced that it found the shipwreck and its estimated value is USD 1 million. Speaking at a press conference in Seoul on July 19, senior spokesperson of the company Park Seong-jin said that they speculated about 200 tonnes of gold bars and coins worth USD 132 billion would still likely be aboard the ship.
Meanwhile, the South Korean government has said in a statement that it is yet to receive any letter from Shinil, seeking approval of its salvage plans. As per local laws aimed at preserving national territory and property, the company will have to deposit 10% of the estimated value of the shipwreck before starting its salvage works. Seoul further said: “Investors should beware because it’s uncertain whether the ship is salvageable and whether Shinil would be able to gain ownership of the assets even if it gets permission to raise it.” It added: “Dong-Ah Construction made similar claims over the same ship, but failed to deliver on its promises and went bankrupt, causing huge losses for investors.”
Rumour has it that the Russians filled the ship with a huge amount of gold and money as the naval battleship was trying to secure its gold from the clutches of Japan when it went down. The valuables included Tzar’s property. However, Professor of Social Sciences at Russia’s Far Eastern Federal University Kirill Kolesnichenko has cast doubt over rumours of large quantities of gold being present on the ship, saying: “Keeping that amount of money on one ship would be too dangerous and it would be have been easier and safer to transport it by train.” He also said that there were some gold coins in the ship mainly to pay the salaries of Russian naval officers.
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