SOME SHIPWRECK SALVAGE NEWS STORIES

 

 

- 1955 -

* A group of seven Japanese divers is exploring the wreck of the U.S.S Oneida, wooden gunboat, of 150 feet long, which was run into and sunk, 21st January, 1870, in the Bay of Tokyo, by the British cargo vessel Bombay. She took with her 117 Americans to the bottom. The wreck lies at a depth of 35 feet and 15 miles off shore. She had on board a treasure of Japanese gold bullion worth $ 400.000 when she went down.

* Searching for a wreck which name has not been divulged, divers came across another one, on the bed of the English Channel. This one proved to have been the iron vessel Benin, 1.530 tons, belonging to the African Shipping Company, returning from the Ivory Coast to Liverpool and sunk by collision with the steamer Duke of Buccleuch, in 1881, of the Start. The cargo of he Benin includes 96 elephant tusks and a valuable general cargo valued, at that time, £ 200.000.

* The British salvage company Risdon Beazley Ltd has taken steps with a Norwegian salvage Society to raise, from a depth of 210 meters (630 feet), the Norwegian steamer Kong Sigurd of 916 tons, from Hamburg to Oslo, sunk in collision with the Danish motor ship Selandia of 8.482 tons, near Filttvedt in the Oslo fjord. The Kong Sigurd was loaded with copper and sank in the deepest spot of the fjord. The price of copper is now very high and the metal scarce.

* The British salvage company Risdon Beazley Ltd has taken steps with a Norwegian salvage Society to raise, from a depth of 210 meters (630 feet), the Norwegian steamer Kong Sigurd of 916 tons, from Hamburg to Oslo, sunk in collision with the Danish motor ship Selandia of 8.482 tons, near Filttvedt in the Oslo fjord. The Kong Sigurd was loaded with copper and sank in the deepest spot of the fjord. The price of copper is now very high and the metal scarce.

* The British salvage vessel Foremost 17 has completed salvage on the Cumberland, 9471 tons, sunk on the South Coast of New South Wales. Nearly 94% of the metal cargo she carried in her holds when she sank by striking a mine 16 miles South West off Gabo Island was recovered. The Cumberland settled in 300 feet of water and this is the first deep sea salvage operation to be conducted off the Australian coast. The Foremost 17 will go to New Zealand also where an effort will be made to salvage the remainder of the gold bullion which was not recovered from the liner Niagara after she was lost by a German mine off the New Zealand coast in 1941.

- 1956 -

* Since the end of the Second World War and up to 1956, the Soviets have raised not less than 142 German vessels during the war.

* The yacht Martinetta has arrived in Durban, South Africa, with gold coins and one bronze cannon, which may come from the wreck of the East Indiaman Grosvenor, wrecked in the vicinity of Durban in 1782, on a voyage from Madras to Europe. The frogmen of the Martinetta have found the coins and the cannon during a 3 hour research off an area known as the “wild coast” but gales forced them to discontinue operations and to leave for a point near Port St Johns. It is said that her cargo is worth more than $ 84 million, including 18 tons of gold, 1456 silver ingots and 19 cases of diamonds amongst which some extraordinary stones. Syndicates from all parts of the world had searched unsuccessfully for her treasure which, as it is said, should include the Great Mogul peacock throne. In 1962, Guido Maurits de Backer, Belgium and Director of an international company, hoped to start the salvage, using a revolutionary technique. Five major attempts between 1896 and 1946 all failed. Because of 20 feet waves lashing the coast at most seasons, salvage vessels could never reach the wreck properly. Attempts to use grapple hooks also failed. A further complication is that since the ship sank in 1782, a layer of sand about 75 feet thick has been washed on top of the wreck. These problem De Backer wants to overcome by pushing and undersea tunnel from the land to the spot where the Grosvenor supposedly lies. 

- 1957

* French frogmen have reported to have spotted what they believe may be the remnants of a treasure ship sunk in 1857 after collision off the Island of Porquerolles, France, in the Mediterranean sea, in 150 feet of water. The remains could be those of the French vessel De Grasse with a full cargo of gifts from the Khedive of Egypt to the French Empress Eugenie. After the collision, the ship managed to get closer towards the French coast but eventually sank. Several bottles of perfume and jars of cosmetics have already been brought to the surface. The ship was known to have carried amongst other things, 2.000 gold coins.

* The salvage vessel Lifeline arrived several times at Frederikshaven, each time with 200 tons of copper matte removed from the wreck of the German steamer Heddernheim of 4.947 tons, sunk in 1940 in the Skagerrak.

* The Japanese salvage company Matsukuru C° Ltd, working in conjunction with the Anglo-Pacific Trading C° Pty of Melbourne, will begin in early 1958, to salve 30 ships sunk off New Guinea during WWII. The group has gained a contract from the administration of New Guinea to raise wrecks up 36 feet below the low water mark. It is supposed the wrecks will yield over AU$ 1 million. Only preliminary survey has been made until now. And an underwater survey will be done to locate other sunken vessels. About 20 to 30 divers will work at the wrecks initially selected. They are mainly Japanese, but others are Australian and American.

* A cannon apparently from the eighteenth century and of French origin, marked “Le Duc du Maine”, over a shield surmounted by a “fleur de lys” and weighing approximately 1, 5 ton, was found 8 miles West of the Eddystone. This cannon has been landed at Plymouth where it now lays at the North Pier. Following other information, the French trawler “Leon Monique” has fished in the same vicinity a cast-iron cannon with the same marking, of approximately 3 tons and of a length of about 4 meters.

* In 1934, the wreck of the Glen liner Glenartney, 7237 tons, was located by the Sorima. The ship was found to be lying in 738 feet of water and it was noted to be twice the depth in which the famous Egypt salvage operations were carried out. The Glenartney had been sunk by an enemy submarine off the Tunisian coast, off Cape Bon, in 1918, when homeward bound from Singapore with a cargo of valuable metals, including tin, for the British Government.

* The salvage of about 5.000 tons of chrome ore is now being undertaken by the salvage ship Twyford, of Risdon Beazley, from the wreck of the American Liberty ship Julia Luckenbach of 5.976 tons, sunk 10 miles off Cape Agulhas, after a collision with the British tanker Resolution, in 1943.

* Work is progressing well in recovering the cargo of the Chilean 3 masted ship Cubana of 781 Tons, Captain Dufour, who sank in 1862, on a voyage from Valparaiso to Le Havre, with a very valuable cargo, 25 miles east of Cape Barfleur. Tin ingots, copper bars, copper ore, as well as non-ferrous scrap parts of the hull of the vessel have already been recovered. Amongst her cargo were listed: 590 bars copper, 23 bags copper ore, 3 bags copper scraps, 1765 tin bars, gold and silver. An unofficial salvage operation has been undertaken in the 1990’s; tin bars, as well as, some gold was discovered, but the results remains secret until nowadays. 

- 1958

* The Indonesian Government has given provisional rights to a joint Indonesian-Japanese salvage company to dispose of 215 vessels, totalling 700.000 tons gross lying in Indonesian waters.

* The Droxford, British salvage vessel belonging to Risdon Beazley Ltd, with a crew of 32, will spend the summer in the Gulf of the Saint Lawrence to raise the treasure trove of copper ingots and bars from three torpedoed vessels off Cape Gaspe. Last summer, the same crew with the Twyford salvaged a cargo of copper from the Greek cargo Mount Pindus also sunk in the vicinity of Gaspe.

* It is reported, from the Cape, South Africa that skin divers have discovered the wreck of the HMS Birkenhead in which, it is said, should still be £ 1 million in gold coins.

* The Dutch vessel Prins Wilhelm V which sank in 1954 after a collision 3 miles off Milwaukee in the Lake Michigan at a depth of 30 meters, will be raised by the salvage company Seaboard Excavator Inc, for the value of her hull and cargo which includes, amongst other items: printing presses, television tubes, juke boxes and 10.000 pounds of tin.

* In 1857, the clipper ship Dunbar ran on the rocks off South Head, 119 persons were drowned, there was only one survivor. In 1955, the members of the Underwater Society recovered the ship’s bell, silver spoons, candelabras, copper coins, bolts and metal castings.

* In 1887, off Southport Beach, near Brisbane, sank the barque Scottish Prince. She had, under other items of her cargo, a large quantity of bottles of whisky. After 71 years of immersion, these bottles are now recovered by the members of the Underwater Research Group of Queensland. Some of these bottles exploded as they were brought to the surface, but the contents were perfectly safe to drink despite a slightly sulphurous smell, according to the Queensland analysts. The wreck was located from the air.

* Recently, the wreck at of a yacht that once belonged to Eva Braun, later Hitler’s wife, has been discovered at the bottom of one of the Mazurian lakes, in Poland, and brought up to the surface. Searches continue in order to discover the wreck of another yacht, the one that once belonged to the “Reichsfeldmarshall der Luftwaffe”, Hermann Goering.

* The wreck of the German submarine U-843, sunk in the eastern Kattegat, west of Frederikshaven, in 1945, by the R.A.F, has been raised. The bodies of 43 men of her crew has been discovered inside, still watching her cargo of tin, rubber, wolfram, molybdenum and 1 ton of opium Tins of herrings made in Bergen, were still in a perfect state as well as tins of cigarettes, chocolate, perfumes and… straw hats.


* Une firme de sauvetage, composée de suédois et finlandais, serait en pourparlers avec le Ministère Turc des Finances pour récupérer les épaves de toute taille, de toute nationalité et de toute contenance qui garnissent le fond et obstruent depuis des siècles la partie intérieure de la Corne d’Or, à Istanbul. Les investigations préliminaires faites par les plongeurs de la firme ont permis à ceux-ci d’apercevoir d’innombrables épaves accumulées au cours des siècles, confirmant ainsi les vieux textes historiques, les chroniques et les mémoriaux Grecs et Byzantins. On trouvera là, les restes de galères lacédémoniennes, de trirèmes athéniennes, de naves et de Galions de Venise et de Gênes ainsi que de vaisseaux de haut bord, des frégates et des corvettes. Dans les chroniques byzantines se retrouvent de précieuses indications sur les dates et les lieux des principaux naufrages, entre autres celui qui se produisit peu avant la prise de Constantinople par les Turcs d’une galère vénitienne et d’une autre génoise chargées de trésors des patriciens de la Cour de Byzance. Ces deux galères étaient à l’ancre et allaient partir. Entre Haskeny et Galata, se trouverait une galère de Nicéphore Phocas, ainsi qu’un vaisseau ayant tous deux à bord des pierres précieuses et de l’or fin. On sait qu’à plusieurs reprises, clandestinement et isolément, des plongeurs ont remonté de l’une ou l’autre de ces nombreuses riches épaves, des cruches byzantines remplies de  monnaies d’or aux effigies des personnes régnantes à Byzance (Empereur Constantin et Sainte Hélène). 

- 1959

* Sixty miles south of Land’s End, in about 50 fathoms of water, lies the remain of the Philadelphian, a 4 masted steamer of 5.120 tons, torpedoed by a German submarine in 1918. So far, zinc sheets in drums have been recovered.

* War sunk vessels half a mile off the port of Naha, Okinawa were bought by a Japanese salvage company. Its divers explored the spot and discovering no wrecks, suspected that they had already been removed in whole or in part. The company is suing the seller: the Government of Okinawa.

* In order to salvage 25.000 tons of shipping sunk off the Australian coasts, a company has been constituted in Sydney. The first job will be the recuperation of the William Dawes of 7176 tons, torpedoed and sunk off Merimbula, New south Wales in 1942 with a cargo of 10.000 tons of non-ferrous metals together with tractors, cranes and other heavy equipments. Two wrecks are also to be salvaged off Bathurst Island: the Don Isidro of 3261 tons and the Florence of 2638 tons carrying valuable metal cargoes.

* A Japanese salvage crew has re-floated the Russian auxiliary warship Irtysh from the bottom of the Japan Sea where she was lying since her sinking during the Russian-Japanese war of 1904-05. And so a 50 year old rumour of a “treasure” in the hold of that Sunken Russian ship ended over the last week-end of August 1959 in disappointment. All what was found was dry brick-red powder which might have once been used for ammunition. The Nichi Nippon Salvage Company admitted that talk of the treasure in the sunken hull of the Irtysh spread by sailors of the Russian fleet who survived the sinking of the ship, may have been a “plant”. Treasure hunters have been trying to get into the Irtysh ever since the ship was sunk as survivors told she was carried gold bullion. The salvagers had one consolation: the scrap was expected to bring them a substantial profit.

- 1960

* A new treasure hunt is in the air. A group of  “students” of the University of  Nottingham will start researches to locate the treasure of King Joan lost in 1216 on the coast somewhere north of Norfolk. This treasure comprises precious stones, gold and silver amongst which two crowns and one sceptre of priceless value. The vehicles loaded with the King’s treasure were overtaken by the high tide and taken away by the sea and engulfed. Specialists have studied the documents of the time and think having relocated the place where the treasure rests. During recent soundings, a very old paved way was discovered under the sea and it is believed to be the road on which King Joan’s convoy was, when the high tide engulfed the royal wagons. Geologists have made soundings which proved to contain traces of gold and silver. Until now, moving sands always prevented systematic research, but chemists have now the means to harden the sands allowing these to be worked without danger.

* Off Quintana Roc (Chinchorro), Mexican coast in the Caribbean, a skin diver, Pablo Bush, in the company of several Mexican divers, has discovered, incrusted in the coral, a real underwater cemetery, in which several Spanish galleons and caravels from the seventeenth century are to be seen and in between the lot of a WWII German submarine !

* During the salvage works on the Swedish Wasa who capsized in 1628, Swedish navy’s deep sea divers have discovered the Riksäpplet, a 17th century Swedish warship who sank after a storm in 1676 lying in 20 meters of water close to Dalarö in the Stockholm archipelago. She was one of the finest vessels of the Swedish navy. It was known that in her holds was lodged a great quantity of bullion valued at 1.250.000 KR. Another 17th century warship, the Gröne Jägaren, has been located in 28 meters of water as well as a third still unidentified, dating from the middle-ages.

* Crew members of the RAN survey frigate Gascoyne are exploring a cemetery, littered with old cannons, anchors and other remnants of at least five old sunken sailing vessels. The place is located near the outer Barrier Reef that is about 300 miles east of a point situated midway between Cairns and Townsville, on the Kenn Reef, Australia.

* An old wreck has been discovered by the sloop HMAS Alvis wedged in a coral reef off Cape Greenville, Queensland. It is supposed she was a privateer. Inscribed on the ship’s bell is: “The gift of Lady Herbert, daughter of Sir John Knatchbull, of Mearchim Hatch, in Kent, in the Kingdom of England, November 30, 1711”.  The Knatchbulls had a long association with the British navy and later, with the infant colony of New South Wales.

* Near Louisburg, Nova Scotia, skin divers have discovered the remains of six of the ten French men of war scuttled during the 17th century, to block the entrance leading to Port Français, for the British vessels. Four other wrecks remain to be located. The wrecks have their guns, cannon balls and many other objects still in place. They lay on a sand bank, but it is out of the question – so it is said – to raise them as they would fell apart.

- 1961 –

* The French steamer Sahel, Captain Reboul, from Oran to Marseille, chartered by the Compagnie des Messageries Impériales, was lost, in 1863, in the bay of Cerbere, near Port Vendres and Banyuls. Due to exceptional bad weather, the steamer was navigating close to the shore and in doing so, damaged her hull on a rock to such extent that she finally sank. Despite the bad weather, her 100 passengers and crew managed to save themselves. On board was the mail from Africa which with he passengers luggage were lost altogether with the cargo including copper ore, saffron and over 1.000.000 Fr. in State’s money… Salvaged or not afterwards ?

* In Mounts Bay, Cornwall, one cannon has been found 30 feet below the surface, setting off another treasure hunt. Probably that cannon originates in the remains of the wreck of the frigate HMS Anson, lost off Low Bar, near Porthleven, during the Napoleonic wars, in 1807. The rumour says that the frigate carried treasure taken from prizes. In 1955, divers found a cannon, cannon balls and copper sheathing. Storms buried the find before it could be raised, and nothing was rediscovered until 1961, when skin divers seeking sea urchins came across more cannons.

* Canadian skin divers have recovered from a still unidentified wreck lying on the bed of the St Lawrence River, part of the cargo consisting of bottles of wine, earthenware, smoking pipes, Chinese porcelains and laundry irons. The wine was sour… A real pity ! It is believed that the unknown vessel sank 130 years ago, that she was British and came from Europe.

* Skin divers exploring the bottom of Bawson Heads, Australia, have discovered the remains of a wreck which is thought to be of the Earl of Charlemont, lost in 1853.

* After the discovery by two Icelandic skin divers of the remains of the French exploration vessel “Pourquoi Pas ?” lost in 1936 in the Icelandic waters. There remains practically nothing of the wreck of the famous Commander Charcot. His ship sank in a gale off the coast of Myror leaving only one survivor. The engine exploded a little while before her going under. The only interesting item that the Icelandic divers could salve, was a fragment of the ship’s bell on which appears the second word of the ship’s name :… Pas ? Divers from Toulon who went down to look at the remains could only confirm the opinions of the Icelandic “discoverers”: there remains nothing worth salvaging of the famed vessel. The wreck, still at anchor, lies in 15 meters of water. The two men also discovered the wreck of the Norwegian vessel Bro lost in the same waters in 1946.

* After 49 years of discussion, Mrs Roberte Bolling, 68 years old, has… finally been allowed £ 100 for luggage lost with the Titanic from which is a survivor. Finally, after half of a century of claims her compensation was paid by the “Lord Mayor fund”.

* Sometimes ago, genuine Spanish documents from the sixteenth century have been discovered in Mexico. These documents have been submitted to the usual test: they are genuine! The writing as well as the texts is well in style of the time, characters and figures added with signs. The reading has given way to the discovery of that part of Sir Francis Drake’s looting that he failed to share with the Government of Queen Elizabeth I, as he was obliged to, according to the agreement subscribed with the British Government. The text of the Spanish documents relates only to nautical instructions in the Caribbean which if correctly and accurately followed, must lead to the place where that part of the looting is buried at the foot of a Maya pyramid, still to be discovered, and located on a swampy spot on the coast of what is still British Honduras.

* There is much discussion about the possibility of raising the wreck of the large Japanese submarine I-34, of 2584 tons displacement, sunk by a British submarine in 1943, in the Strait of Malacca. The I-34 is said to have left the Kure naval base for Germany to bring back a cargo of “secret weapons” which would be paid for with gold bars carried on board. When at Singapore, the submarine took on board tungsten, rubber, tin and other high priority war materials more than scarce in Germany. Two days after she left she was torpedoed and sunk by the British submarine Taurus. Only 10 of her crew could save themselves.

* The cargo of the British steamer Skyro of 1.142 tons gross, from Gandia to London who went down in a storm in 1891, on the Spanish coast between Cape Finisterre and Muros has now been completely salvaged ; nearly 600 tons of lead and silver ingots have been safely landed Corunna, Spain. She was in 50 meters of water, lying in a break of the rocky bottom, in the so called Meiseidos Hollow, about 20 cables off shore.

- 1962 –

* Researches are under way on the remains of the cargo Niobe of 1.684 tons, from the French Société Navale Caennaise, sunk in 1940 by the Luftwaffe off Ouistreham, Normandy, with 800 refugees on board coming from Le Havre and loaded with 800 tons of ammunitions. It is said that the Niobe came from Rotterdam where she had been boarded by an unknown number of diamond merchants carrying hand-cases loaded with gems.

* The Royal Charter was lost in October 1859 on the Welsh coast with treasures. A long time after the wreck had taken place, it was learnt that a chest with £ 7.000 in gold had been left in the ship. Messrs. Gibbs, Brigt & Co of Liverpool accepted to try for £ 4.000, to salvage the remaining treasure. After strenuous efforts the chest was discovered and brought up to the surface with the £7.000 still in it.

* Underwater diving enthusiasts of Perth have discovered under boiling surf six miles north of Perth, the wreck of the steam vessel Centaur which was lost on the North Beach reefs in 1874. She had a cargo of lead worth £ 6000. The lead, probably ingots, has broken into small pieces and its recuperation will be difficult.

- 1963 –

* Aqualung divers operating in the Singhalese waters have discovered the remains of a real treasure ship. They describe the bottom around the wreck this way : “the seabed was littered with silver coins hearing the date 1702”

* The German heavy cruise Blücher sunk in 1940 by the Norwegian coast artillery in the Oslo fjord, off Dröbak, during the nazi invasion of Norway, will be raised from her watery grave 90 meters deep. She went down with several thousands of German soldiers.

* On April 1944, in the Victoria dock of Bombay, in India, The British cargo Fort Stikine, of 7142 tons, loaded with ammunition, blew up with devastating effects. She had on board a large number of gold bars consigned by the Bank of England to the reserve Bank of India. These bars were catapulted off the disintegrating ship and… disappeared. A few weeks ago, the dredger Vikas, at work in the same basin, dug up one of these bars weighing 28 lbs. Between1946 and 1959, another dredger, the Chelura, working in the same basin, salvaged 24 of these gold bars. Since then, the Victoria dock has been nicknamed the “Golden Mine” and the Chelura, the “Golden Dredger”. If you ever go to Bombay harbour…

* It is rumoured that a new attempt will be made to salvage the cargo ship Shiragane Maru, sunk by mine when leaving Hong Kong as last Japanese vessel, before the island was retaken by the allies and liberated from the Japanese occupation. The wreck should be lying 600 feet outside the territorial waters of communist China and at a depth of 9 fathoms only. It is said that when leaving Hong Kong, she had on board 8 tons of gold! Two previous attempts of salvage were made in 1957. It is said that a diver had found a diamond ring worth $ 70.000

- 1964 –

* More police were sent to Freeport, Bahamas to provide a 24-hour guard on more than $ 8.400.000 worth of sunken Spanish treasure which has been sparked a swashbuckling feud. The Bahamas Government meanwhile announced it will hold talks with two groups seeking title to the treasure of coins, the cargo of a Spanish galleon who sank off Freeport, on the western tip of Grand Bahamas Island. The coins have been “frozen” while the claims are sorted out. The chief factions are a group of Americans who first found the underwater treasure and a group of Grand Bahamas businessmen. The feud erupted into an undersea knife battle which ended when police trailed the “businessmen” to the treasure site and cleared them from the water. This group considers the treasure to be in the public domain. Three times they have set sail to challenge the discoverers’ claim. Bahamas police Chief Nigel Morris visited the treasure area and set up a round-the-clock patrol to keep all away until ownership is settled.

* Attempts to bring the steamer Lakeland into shallower waters failed. The Great Lake Survey Corporation engaged the tug John Purves to pull the ship. Cables were attached to the Lakeland’s bow anchor chains and after working for hours, the cables finally parted. There is no further plan at present. The Lakeland was lost in 1924, bound for Chicago. Shortly after leaving, she was found leaking very badly. The master headed back towards the ship canal, but she gradually took on more water and started to settle by the stern. The Lakeland went down in 36 fathoms carrying a load of new Ford and Kissel cars.

­ 1965 –

* Discovery of a Spanish galleon that may yield history’s greatest haul of treasure: Mr Cannon, a member of the Real Eight corporation, said at a news conference he believed the recovery will far exceed the US$ 1,6 million the group took last year from another galleon near the Fort Pierce inlet. The new find was just south of the Sebastian inlet. More than 3000 pounds of silver already taken from the second vessel were displayed to newsmen at the Real Eight treasure museum. Both vessels were believed to be part of ten Spanish treasure ships that went down in a hurricane while heading from the New World to Spain.

* The first claim under the recently-passed “Ancient wreck protection Bill” the Western Australian Government has been made on 15 of January, by four skin divers who discovered ship’s timber, copper sheathing and what might be a cannon ball while diving for crayfish. Its location was given as between Fremantle and Rottnest. They are untitled to £ 1000, the maximum payable under the Act should the wreck, now reported to Port museum, qualify.

* On the seabed of Sydney Bay, Norfolk Island, in the Pacific, about 900 miles NW. from Sydney, two anchors believed to have belonged to the British warship HMS Sirius, have been located in 20 feet of water, about a quarter of a mile offshore and outside the reef on which she was wrecked on March, 19, 1790. What is believed to be part of a cannon has been seen near one of the anchors.

* An Australian underwater photographer has discovered on a bed of coral and sand, at 230 miles from Rock Hampton, north of Queensland, the wreck of the British ship Navigator, Captain Matthews Flinders that sank in 1803. After the wreck of his vessel, Captain Flinders, with 14 men, set out in an open boat and, in a fortnight rowed and sailed about 700 miles to Sydney. The wreck was identified by its cannons and anchors, as was the wreck of the Cato, the accompanying vessel that sank altogether.

- 1966

* A Texas treasure hunter believes he can thank hurricane Beulah for uncovering the wreck of a Spanish vessel which may be one of five treasure ships wrecked on Padre Island in 1553. Mr. Richard Winston Clement, aged 26, was attracted by the many treasure stories about Padres Island, a long sand spit which runs north of the Gulf of Mexico coast for more than 100 miles from Brownsville to Corpus Christi. He checked the stories against his exploration of the island and registered search claims in the courts.

* Eleven ships sailed in 1715 from the Mexican port of Vera Cruz. Their cargoes consisted in large part of gold, silver and jewels destined, as a wedding gift, to the new Queen of Spain. The ships loaded their rich cargoes at Havana. From the warehouses at New Grenada had come Peruvian gold and Brazilian emeralds, from Carthagena came pearls and silver from the mine of Portobello on the Panamian isthmus. The fleet sailed northward from Havana and was immediately struck by bad weather. On July 31st, the fleet, battered and driven northward by a hurricane driven on to the Florida shore of Cape Canaveral. On could stand offshore, the rest foundered in the shallows a few hundred feet from the beach. The few survivors of the sunken fleet reached Saint Augustine and told the story. The Spanish authorities estimated the value of the lost treasure at the time, at US$ 14 millions - an immense fortune! A few years ago, Kip Wagner, a builder and amateur archaeologist came from the Midwest to Florida. One afternoon, he found on the beach an irregular shaped piece of silver stamped with a cross and a coat of arms. In the following months, he found several more similar pieces, Spanish pieces of eight. Some coins were dated but none bore a later date than 1715. After some research, he could find that the pieces had come from the lost treasure fleet.

* At Pakostan, a little resort place in the middle of the Yugoslavia Adriatic shore, 6 treasure hunters working down in 30 meters of water on the remains of the wreck of a sixteenth century galleon, from which many recovered objects have been brought ashore, have been jailed and their discoveries seized by the Yugoslav authorities.

* Soviet scientists have been asked to develop o device which will allow the recovery of the “Moscow lot”, treasures taken away by Napoleon’s army retreating from that city in 1812 and supposed to have been dumped in the lake of Semlevo, some 320 kilometres south west of the capital. It is said that there were 25 horse- car loads of gold, silver, jewels, church plates, armours, furs, cannons and Kremlin decorations. It is said that the bottom of the lake presents, at a certain spot, an unusual prominence of some 40 meters long and 25 meters large. Students in geology, from the Moscow University, have detected the presence, in the lake, of objects of good conductibility and discovered that the percentage of silver contained in the water was considerably higher than in the water of surrounding lakes. If the treasure lies in that lake, its recovery will pose some problems hard to solve; one of them being a layer of mud estimated some10 meters thick.  

- 1967 –

* Amateur divers believe they have located the wreck of the Santa Maria de la Rosa, a flagship from the Spanish Armada, near the Blasket Islands off the coast of co. Kerry, Republic of Ireland. Mr. Sydney Wignall, 44, a company director and diving expert said that he had deposited a £ 1.000 bond with the Spanish Government for the sole rights for seven years. The galleon had 50.000 gold ducats aboard when she went down in 1588. She was armed with 26 bronze guns and carried 50 field pieces.

* A Texas treasure hunter believes he can thank hurricane Beulah for uncovering the wreck of a Spanish vessel which may be one of the five treasure ships wrecked on Padre Island in 1553. Richard Winston Clement, aged 26, was attracted by the many treasure stories about Padre Island, a long sandpit which runs north of the Gulf of Mexico coast for more than 100 miles from Brownsville to Corpus Christi. He checked the stories against his exploration of the Island, and registered search claims in the court.

- 1968 –

* A seventeenth-century ship, believed to have been used by English pirates, has been found by fishermen at the bottom of the Atlantic, near Corn Island, 30 miles off the coast of Nicaragua. A team of divers, hoping to find hidden treasure, has so far brought up two cannons.

* Southampton salvor Risdon Beazley Ltd. have bought for £ 21.050 the sunken cargo Warrior of 7.551 tons, lying in 265 feet of water, 14 miles off the north coast of Trinidad, and believe to contain a valuable cargo. She was lost by enemy action in 1942 and her cargo was listed as 10.060 tons general war stores. Risdon Beazley bought the vessel under an invitation for bids by the United States Maritime Administration, on an “as is, where is” basis. 200 tons of brass has already been salvaged and brought to shore.

* The SS Eligamite, 2585 tons, belonging to Huddart Parker & C° Pty went down off the Three Kings Group on 9 Nov. 1902 with 45 lives. She had a general cargo as well as gold and silver coins valued at AU$ 34,640. A quantity worth AU$ 8,000 was salvaged in 1907. The salvage rights have been purchased from Indemnity Mutual insurance, by two skin divers who have already brought up gold and silver from the wreck.

- 1969 –

* The Canadian Treasure hunter, Mr. Alex Storm, has succeeded in recovering the treasure from the wreck of the HMS Faversham, 5th rate of 32 guns, built in 1696 and lost on 7th of October, 1711 off Cape Breton. The value of the recovered treasure is estimated at many times the whole of the treasure discovered in 1966 by the same Mr. Storm, in the wreck lying in he same area, of the French man of war Le Chameau, sank in 1725 with the payroll for the soldiers of the French garrison of the old fortress of Cape Breton, and which was estimated at $ 7 millions.

* in June, an ancient Spanish galleon has been found almost intact by divers in shallow water, about 300 yards from Vero Beach.

* A salvage company is to resume its search for gold and silver bullion valued at several million dollars believed to be on board the De Braak, a British sloop, which sank in a gale, in 1798, near cape Henlopen, Delaware Bay, with a crew of 34 and more than 100 prisoners of war.

- 1970 –

Friends of the Ulster museum of Belfast, a recently formed association, is appealing to help to buy the remarkable collection of treasure which has been salved from the galleon Girona of the Spanish Armada, wrecked about a mile off the County Antrim coast. The treasure was recovered by Belgian and French divers from the sunken wreck and sent into custody of the Board of Trade, London, where by law it must remain. The treasure includes cannon, gold and silver coins, ornaments and regalia, and has been described as extremely interesting.

* An American group has launched an investigation into one of the world’s greatest maritime mystery, the location of the Santa Maria, flagship of Christopher Columbus.  The Santa Maria foundation, organizer of the search, said it believes the remains of the ship lies under about 12 feet of water on a coral reef  two and a half miles off the coast of northern Haiti, about 6 miles from Cape Haitian. The investigation is headed by Fred Dickson, a diver and commercial pilot who spotted what he is convinced are the remains of the Santa Maria, during a flight over the area in 1967. Mr Dickson said he pinpointed his site out of four other locations most favoured by historians, after reading documents and taking tides and winds into consideration. According to Columbus’ log, the Santa Maria ran gently aground on a reef near Cape Haitian after midnight on Christmas day, 1492. The crew abandoned her and within a week stripped her timber to build a fort, but Mr Dickson said he believes only the top deck was stripped and he hopes to find the hull-like a 95 feet canoe.

* Until now the remnants of 270 sunken ships have been discovered in what has been the Zuiderzee. These remnants belong to vessels that sank therein since the thirteenth century, when after a gigantic storm, the Zuiderzee was born. As these remnants come from vessels that sank through any cause, they are generally rich in testimonials of their time.

* An ancient sailing ship, possibly a Spanish galleon, has been found in 25 feet of water, near Panay Island, some 300 miles south-east of Manila, Philippines. Five white porcelain cups plates with blue Chinese designs were recovered from the ships’ hold.  The Philippine National museum said it could be 200 years old.

* Members of  Londonderry Sub-Aqua club have found the sunken wreckage of a Spanish Armada ship in Glenagivney Bay, about 25 miles from Londonderry. Jim Whelan, Chairman of the club, said the ship was La Trinidad Valencera, of 1100 tons, which sank after two days at anchor in the bay. Negotiations have started with the Spanish Government for purchase rights.

- 1972 –

Three skin divers have handed some 75 kilos of gold and silver coins to the marine museum in Bergen, Norway. They have discovered that treasure in a wreck off Rundoe Island. According to qualified sources, the shipwreck should be the Dutch vessel Acherdam wrecked in the vicinity in 1725.

 

Add a comment

You're using an AdBlock like software. Disable it to allow submit.