A salvage company has found the remains of a Russian warship which was lost during the Russo-Japanese War. The ship which is a cruiser class Dmitrii Donskoi was lost off the coast of Korea in 1905. It was reported that the ship was carrying a cargo of gold which is worth $130 billion in today’s market. An international consortium of companies plans to salvage the gold. The Donskoi was found less than a mile off the coast of Ulleung island. It was at a depth of 1423 feet in the Sea of Japan.
A submersible dropped to the shipwreck and took an image of the ship’s name on the stern, written in Cyrillic alphabets. The South Korean Shinil group who discovered the wreck, plans to recover the gold anytime later this year with the help of companies in China, Canada, and the UK. When the ship sank, it was reportedly carrying 5500 boxes of gold bars and 200 tons of gold coins with a value of today’s $130 billion. This amount is twice the defense budget of Russia in 2017, which was $61 billion.
The Dmitrii Donskoi was an Imperial Russian Navy armored cruiser and was a part of Russia’s Pacific Fleet. It was built in St. Petersburg and launched in 1883. She had four eight-inch guns, 14 six-inch guns, and four torpedo tubes. The 306-foot-long Donskoi was steam powered and was powered by coal-burning boilers. In 1904, Japan attacked Russian holdings in the Far East, and the Donskoi escaped the enemy contact by acting as a commerce raider. In May 1905, the Donskoi took part in the famous Battle of Tsushima which was a decisive victory for Japan.
After the battle, the cruiser, which was destroyed at that time, fled north and was chased by Japanese ships. A day after the battle, Captain First Rank Ivan Lebedev, the ship’s commanding officer, took the ship off the coast of Ulleung and evacuated the crew on the island. The Shinil Group claims it to saw a “treasure box” among the wreckage. There are no confirmed reports on if the Donskoi was carrying the treasure or not. Apart from making payments to the Russian government, the salvagers have also promised to invest money in a railroad line which will link North Korea, South Korea, and Russia.