In September 1986 the English diving support vessel Deepwater-2 arrived in the Barents Sea and stood over the sunken British cruiser HMS Edinburgh which was at a depth of 260 meters. After a five-year hiatus, a deep-sea rescue operation to save the gold cargo continued. Because of the beginning of autumn storms the 1981 expedition could not complete the rescue operations: 431 of the projected 465 gold bars, each weighing 11-13 kg, were raised on the board of the cruiser.
The largest marine treasury is considered to be the region of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. In the early 16th century, conquerors carried treasures to Europe through it. Pirates of the Caribbean were waiting for the heavily loaded Spanish galleons. But they did not get so much treasure compared to what went to the bottom with the ships, destroyed during boardings and violent storms. According to rough estimates more than 100,000 ships sank in the Atlantic Ocean over the centuries. Their cargo is estimated in trillions of dollars.
At the head of the merchant ships convoy, HMS Edinburgh left Murmansk for England at the end of April 1942. The cruiser was built shortly before the war. Its displacement was 10,000 thousand tons, it was 174 meters long, the thickness of the side armor was up to 8 centimeters. The ship was armed with three-, four- and six-inch guns and torpedo tubes. It was reported that there were about five and a half tons of gold on board. Gold was meant as a payment for military supplies to allies of the Soviet Union in the anti-Hitler coalition.
On 30 April 1942 the cruiser HMS Edinburgh was attacked by a German submarine. Due to serious damage the ship, however, continued to stay afloat. Two days later, on 2 May Edinburgh was attacked by German destroyers. The cruiser remained afloat, but its further towing to the nearest base was meaningless. Edinburgh was sunk by three torpedo shots by order of the commander of the convoy, the English Rear Admiral Bonham-Carter, so that the enemy didn’t get the gold cargo.
After the war the gold cargo of Edinburgh was repeatedly sought by the British, Germans, and the Soviet Union specialists. But all of their attempts have failed.
431 of the projected 465 gold bars, each weighing 11-13 kg, were raised on the board of the cruiser in September 1981. During the second operation in 1986, 29 discovered gold bars were raised.
In July 1985 Mel Fisher, the most famous and successful American treasure hunter, discovered the treasures of the legendary Spanish galleon Nuestra Senora de Atocha, sunk during the hurricane in 1622 in the coastal waters of Florida. More than 200 gold and more than 1100 silver ingots (each weighing 15-37 kilograms) were raised from the seabed, as well as jewelry: gold rings, chains, pendants, emerald brooches and a marvelous cross decorated with emeralds. In addition, full arsenal of weapons of the XVII century was discovered. The total value of the treasures is estimated at more than 400 million US dollars.
La Capitana was one of the ships that transported the gold of Inca empire whose treasures were plundered by the Spanish. Heavily loaded ship was wrecked in 1654 off the coast of modern Ecuador.
Wrecked in a storm Spanish galleon, which had lain on the ocean floor for several centuries, was discovered in 1997 by the Argentine treasure hunter Herman Moreau. Experts estimated the value of the Inca treasures from La Capitana at several billion dollars, the holds of the galleon were full of gold and silver. But the searchers managed to pick up several tens of thousands of silver coins from the sunken ship. It isn’t yet clear: which ship has Moro discovered? After a detailed study of the historical materials of the treasure hunters it was stated that they had probably found a ship that had accepted a part of the precious cargo from La Capitan, but soon sank itself. And famous La Capitaina still lives somewhere in the depths of the sea waiting for its time.
It is well-known that there are still many ships lying at the bottom of the sea, attracting treasure hunters from all over the world.