Scots firm lands zinc treasure from Spanish shipwreck

From BBC News

Treasure recovered from a ship which sank off the coast of Spain more than 30 years ago is bound for Scotland.

Lanarkshire-based metal coating company, Highland Galvanisers, has bought 75 tonnes of zinc recently salvaged from the wreck.

The Francois Vieljeux vessel was carrying a cargo of precious metals from Tanzania to ports in northern Europe when the it sunk in 1979.

The firm will melt down the zinc to use at its coating plant in Cumbernauld.

The ship and its cargo had lain at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean until 2006 when a company called Subsea Resources started the process of recovering it using a special vessel fitted with a remotely operated grab.

Expert analysts estimated the lost cargo, which also included 5,500 tonnes of copper, would have a value of about £21m in today's market - the equivalent of 800kg of gold, or almost 400,000 barrels of oil.


The 11,000 ton French cargo/container ship, "Francois Vieljeux" foundered in a storm on 14 February 1979 off the Atlantic coast of Spain en route from Dares Salaam to Rotterdam and Hamburg.

Her wreck lies at a depth of 1250 metres (4200 feet) approximately 35 nautical miles west of Vigo. The site is extremely exposed and continually affected by the proximity of Cape Finisterre 45 nautical miles to the NNE.

This landfall is one of the most westerly in mainland Europe, being on the same latitude as Cape Clear in Eire. Its influence on weather and sea conditions is ever present, with both wind and current increasing in the vicinity as they pass round it.

The prevailing winds are from the north and due to the vast expanse of ocean to the north-west, the sea conditions are without doubt some of the worst we have experienced.

The swell, which is seldom absent, can build up from being relatively calm to Sea State 6 in as little as two hours.


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