Daily Management Review

Wreck Of Russian Ship Rumoured To Have 5,500 Boxes Of Gold Found Near South Korean Island


Wreck Of Russian Ship Rumoured To Have 5,500 Boxes Of Gold Found Near South Korean Island
Rumoured to be filed with 5,500 boxes of gold bars and coins said to be worth US$133 billion, the wreck of the fabled Dmitrii Donskoi, a Russian warship that sunk in 1905, was discovered off the South Korean island of Ulleungdo by divers.
Lying at a depth of 434 metres about 1.3km off Ulleungdo, manned submersibles discovered the wreck of the Russian Imperial Navy cruiser.
It has bene several years that a search for the wreck was being carried out by the Seoul-based maritime salvage company Shinil Group. A team of experts from South Korea, China, Britain and Canada had been compiled by the firm for this year’s mission.
The Russian ship had sunk in the sea after an encounter with Japanese warships in May 1905 and according to the video footage that has been released by the company, there had been extensive damage to the warship which weighed in about 5,800-tonne.
Cannons and deck guns covered by marine growth and the anchor and ship’s wheel can be seen in the video footage.
The name in Cyrillic characters on the stern of the ship shone clearly under floodlights on one of the submersibles helped the divers to be sure about the identify of the ship.
“The body of the ship was severely damaged by shelling, with its stern almost broken, and yet the ship’s deck and sides are well preserved”, the company said in a statement on its website.
Designed to act as a commerce raider, the Dmitrii Donskoi was built in St Petersburg and was launched in August 1883. The ship had been given a coal-fired engine as well as a complete set of sails.
During most of its operational life time, the warship had been deployed in the Mediterranean Sea and the Far East. But following the destruction of Russia’s naval power in the Far East in the initial battles in the 1904-05 Russo-Japanese War, the warship was ordered to move from the Baltic and join Imperial Russia’s Second Pacific Squadron.
The squadron was decimated at the Battle of Tsushima by Japanese fleet in May 1905. Despite the Dmitrii Donskoi managing to flee the Japanese attacking force as its main task was to protect the transport ships that sailed towards the rear of the formation, it was later intercepted as the ship was moving towards the Russian port of Vladivostok.
Opver the years, there have been rumours that money funds which would be required by the Russian fleet towards fuel, port fees and the crews of its ships was being carried by the Dmitrii Donskoi. The rumour mills further stated that the money was stacked in 5,500 boxes in the form of gold coins and bars. It is believed that the wealth is still within the ship as the Japanese could not lay hands on it.  
Some South Korean media have speculated the value of the gold to be worth about US$133 billion (HK$1.044 trillion).
The ship is being aimed to be raised in November, the Shinil Group says. It further said that an agreement to return to the Russian government half of the fortune if found on the ship had bene reached by the company.