26 January 2009

Shipwreck may hold £2,600,000,000 treasure

When Mel Fisher found the Atocha treasure off the coast of Florida, the gold, silver and emeralds were valued at hundreds of millions of dollars. Now a new treasure ship may have been located, and its cargo would exceed that of the Atocha by an order of magnitude. And it's not a pirate ship or a Spanish galleon - it appears to be a British tramp steamer!
Salvagers claim to have found the world's richest wreck – a British ship sunk by a Nazi submarine while laden with a £2.6 billion cargo that included gold, platinum and diamonds…

It says the merchant ship, which had a predominantly British crew, had left a European port, laden with goods for the US Treasury under the Lend-Lease scheme, whereby the American government gave material support to the Allied war effort in exchange for payments… it was intercepted by German U-boat U87 and sent to the bottom by two torpedoes in June 1942

... the Blue Baron's cargo included at least ten tons of gold bullion, 70 tons of platinum, one a half tons of industrial diamonds and 16 million carats of gem quality diamonds

It is thought much of the treasure could be Russian, although part, including the diamonds, may have been British. "Both Britain and Russia transhipped large quantities of precious goods to the US to pay for their war effort. It would be unlikely the salvors would be able to keep it all. The real winners will be the lawyers. There is a marine lawyers' saying that treasure is trouble."

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