The remains of a 300-year-old warship
are to be raised from the sea bed, according to reports.
The wreck of HMS Victory, a predecessor of Nelson's famous flagship, was
found near the Channel Islands in 2008.
The British warship, which went down in a storm in 1744 killing more than
1,000 sailors, could contain gold coins worth an estimated £500m.
The Sunday Times says the
Maritime Heritage Foundation is set to manage the wreck's raising.
It also reports that the charity will employ Odyssey Marine Exploration to
carry out the recovery.
The American company found the ship four years ago, with the ship's identity
confirmed by a bronze cannon.
The newspaper says the guns and other reclaimed artefacts will be displayed
in British museums, but under the laws of salvage Odyssey is likely to receive
the bulk of any treasure found.
A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said: "Efforts to protect key parts of
British Naval history such as the wreck of HMS Victory 1744 are very welcome and
we hope to make an announcement shortly."'Great
The chairman of the foundation, Lord Lingfield, is a relative of Admiral Sir
John Balchin, who was onboard the warship when it sank.
The Tory peer, formerly known as Sir Robert Balchin, told the newspaper that
he would not profit from the ship's cargo.
He added: "We will have the satisfaction of solving a great maritime mystery
that has been part of my family history since the 18th Century."
The 174ft 9in (53m) ship was discovered by the Florida-based firm in May
2008, nearly 65 miles (100km) from where it was historically believed to have
At the time, the company's chief executive, Greg Stemm, said: "HMS Victory
was the mightiest vessel of the 18th Century and the eclectic mix of guns we
found on the site will prove essential in further refining our understanding of
naval weaponry used during the era."
The Dutch financial publication, Amsterdamsche Courant, reported on 18
November 1744, a month after the ship sank: "People will have it that on board
of The Victory was a sum of 400,000 pounds sterling that it had brought from
Lisbon for our merchants."
It was also thought that large quantities of silver and gold coins would have
been on board HMS Victory from enemy prize ships captured by Balchin, worth
£120,000 at the time.
In a report, the exploratory
company said only a cannon, marked with the crest of King George I, has been
recovered so far.
The remains of the ship's hull, an iron ballast, two anchors, a copper kettle
and rigging have been spotted on the sea bed.
In: Regional News, Other News, WTF, Other Entertainment, Science and Technology
Tags: HMS, 1744, victory, recovery, sea, odyssey, billion dollar, gold
Location: United Kingdom (UK/GB) (load item map)
Marked as: approved
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