Wreck of Russian warship carrying $130bn in gold found off South Korea

A South Korean salvage team has discovered the wreck of a Russian warship that’s still carrying 200 tonnes of gold bullion and coins worth 150 trillion won ($130 billion),

It is thought that the battle ship, called Dmitrii Donskoi, sank during the Russo-Japanese War in 1905, going down with 5,500 boxes of gold bars and coins to prevent the Japanese from seizing it.

Historical accounts reveal it would have also included port expenses, salaries of sailors and officers and gold reserves of various other ships damaged in the battle.

Wreck of Russian warship carrying $130bn in gold found off South Korea

Russian first-class armored cruiser Donskoii. (Image courtesy of PRNewsfoto | Shinil Group.)

The vessel was discovered at a depth of more than 1,400 feet, about one mile off the South Korean island of Ulleungdo, Seoul-based treasure-hunting company Shinil Group said in a statement.

A joint team made up of experts from South Korea, Britain and Canada discovered the wreck on Sunday. They had used two manned submersibles to capture footage of the vessel.

Wreck of Russian warship carrying $130bn in gold found off South Korea

The team had to use two manned submersibles to capture footage of the vessel. (Image: Shinil Group.)

The images caught by the diving artifacts show “extensive damage to the vessel caused in an encounter with Japanese warships in May 1905, along with cannons and deck guns encrusted with marine growth, the anchor and the ship’s wheel,” The Telegraph reported (subs. required).

Shinil Group, which hopes to lift the Dmitrii Donskoi in October or November, said half of any treasure found aboard would be handed over to the Russian government. Of the remainder, 10% will be invested in tourism projects on Ulleungdo Island, including a museum dedicated to the vessel and Captain Ivan Lebedev, who died a few days after the Battle of Tsushima.

Wreck of Russian warship carrying $130bn in gold found off South Korea

The Dmitrii Donskoi warship is believed to have sunk in a naval battle 113 years ago. (Image: Shinil Group.)