The state government is attempting to salvage dozens of shipwrecks found off the coast near Tanjung Tuan here, which may yield artefacts worth billions of ringgit.
State Tourism, Culture and Heritage committee chairman Datuk Latiff Tamby Chik said the shipwrecks, some of which were 500 years old, were discovered during a survey conducted by the National Heritage Department and Royal Malaysian Navy.
“Some of these vessels could be from the time of the Malacca Sultanate and some from the period between 1600s and 1800s.
“It's an important find with rich historical value for Malacca,” said Latiff after visiting Hang Li Poh Well here yesterday.
The shipwrecks were located on the seabed some 100m from the surface, he added.
Latiff said authorities believed the shipwrecks could include Raja Haji and Bulan Linggi, two vessels used by the Malay rulers between 1600 and 1650.
Most, he added, were probably merchant ships on their way to Malacca before they sank.
“The cost of salvaging one of these ships could cost up to RM3mil but the artefacts recovered can reach up to billions of ringgit,” he said, adding that the state government was trying to salvage the wrecks with the help of foreign deep-sea recovery companies.