Treasure hunter finds $3bn-worth platinum in shipwreck

February 2nd, 2012 - 6:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Moscow, Feb 2 (IANS/RIA Novosti) A US treasure hunter has announced a record find of Soviet platinum in a sunken World War II era shipwreck, BBC reported Thursday.

The wreck - of a British merchant vessel - is located 80 km off the US Atlantic coast in waters 213 metres deep, Greg Brooks of Sub Sea Research said.

Brooks said he had discovered the SS Port Nicholson, sunk in 1942 by a German torpedo, four years previously but delayed the announcement while he negotiated salvage rights.

The platinum bars, now estimated to be worth $3 billion, were payment from the Soviet Union to the US for war supplies.

But Anthony Shusta, an attorney for the British government, said he doubted the ship was carrying platinum, but that Britain may make a claim on the ship’s contents when the salvage attempt begins.

An operation to recover the treasure will start later this month.

“I’m going to get it, one way or another, even if I have to lift the ship out of the water,” BBC quoted Brooks as saying.

The Institute of Russian History of the Russian Academy of Sciences said they were not aware of the hoard but confirmed the Soviet government often used precious metals and minerals as payment during WWII.

In 1981, a British treasure hunter discovered a wreck of the British warship HMS Edinburgh laden with Soviet gold in the Arctic Ocean. The gold - which became known as Stalin’s gold - was due to be paid to the US for the arms it supplied.

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