After 250 Years A Hunt For Gold In Sunken Ship

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In 1763, the British warship Lord Clive said to have been carrying 100,000 gold coins was shot and sunk by Spanish forces off the coast of Uruguay as Britain and Portugal tried to seize the city of Colonia del Sacramento during the Seven Years’ War.  A treasure hunter Ruben Collado is working to recover the gold from it.

The Argentine adventurer was searching relentlessly for 14 years and in 2004, struck a sunken mast as he trolled around the River Plate estuary.  He obtained necessary authorization from the Uruguayan authorities after more than ten long years to haul what is left of the wreckage to the surface, repair its cracks and bring it to shore.

The 78-year-old professional treasure hunter bursts with energy as he discusses his plans, brushing aside conservationists’ calls to leave the ship where it is.  He firmly believes it was carrying the gold from a Uruguay-bound cargo ship it had captured.  This fortified city of cobblestone streets was founded by the Portuguese in 1680 and is today a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Just off the coast, in the estuary that splits Argentina and Uruguay, five orange buoys float above the remains of Lord Clive, marking the spot where Collado and his team are at work.

Collado said Lord Clive anchored just 350 meters offshore and was a sitting duck for the Spanish.  He estimates his haul will total hundreds of millions of dollars — half of which will go to the Uruguayan government.  It will take two years to clear the rocks and mud covering the ship, run a huge metal lattice under it, raise it, patch it up and bring it to shore.

But Collado is confident.  “You have to get out there and search to have good luck,” he said.

Source: Shanghai Daily

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