Team finds gold aboard ship that sank off Argentina

June 25th, 2009 - 12:55 am ICT by IANS  

Buenos Aires, June 24 (EFE) A research vessel has said that the cargo of 9.5 tonnes of gold and silver being carried by a refitted Chilean fishing boat remains in the hold five months after it sank in the Atlantic off southern Argentina.
The find put an end to suspicions that the cargo, valued at $19 million, had been stolen shortly before the mysterious sinking of the fishing boat Polar Mist at the mouth of the Strait of Magellan, some 40 km from the Argentine coast.

A remote-control submersible with video cameras determined that the Polar Mist is resting on the ocean floor in 80 meters (260 feet) of water without any significant damage and with its cargo intact, sources linked to the salvage operation told the dailies Clarin and La Nacion.

They said that a week ago the salvage vessel C-Sailor was operating in the area of the shipwreck and now it is preparing an operation to recover the cargo, which belongs to several mining companies.

The Polar Mist is “lying on its belly” on the ocean floor, with all its compartments closed and only light damage attributable to the impact it suffered when it hit bottom, the sources said.

The Chilean fishing boat, which had been refitted to carry cargo, sank under unexplained circumstances Jan 18 after a storm at the mouth of the Strait of Magellan.

Eight Chilean crew-members of the Polar Mist were rescued by an Argentine navy helicopter and taken to Rio Gallegos.

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