Blue Baron (shipwreck)
||It has been suggested that this article be merged into SS Port Nicholson (1918). (Discuss) Proposed since February 2012.|
Blue Baron is the code name given to a shipwreck discovered by Sub Sea Research approximately 40 miles off the coast of Guyana. The wreck lies in approximately 800 feet of water, and could potentially be one of the richest treasure ships ever salvaged.
According to Sub Sea Research, the Blue Baron was sunk off Guyana in June 1942 by the German U-boat U-87. The company claim it was carrying a cargo of at least ten tons of gold bullion, 70 tons of platinum, one and a half tons of industrial diamonds and 16 million carats of gem quality diamonds, which at today's value is worth approximately £2.6 billion. The cargo is believed to have been shipped from the United Kingdom to America under the Lend-Lease scheme. Sub Sea Research intend to salvage the wreck, and have equipped a vessel in Louisiana to sail to the site.
The ship's full identity and exact location have not been disclosed, but it is reported to lie in international waters. Although no cargo has yet been recovered, commentators have pointed out that given the sums involved, and the level of complexity involved in property claims relating to the salvage of shipwrecked cargos, it is highly likely that any recoveries will result in protracted litigation.
Identity of the vessel
In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Sub Sea Research provided a photograph of the ship which the newspaper identified as a tramp steamer, noting that her funnel is similar to those of the shipping line Hogarth and Co, of Glasgow. The paper further pointed out that the names of all ships in that shipping line began with the word Baron (and there is in fact one named Blue Baron, but which apparently could not be the wreck). However, none of the 17 ships lost by the line during World War II appear to have been sunk in this area at the relevant time.The Telegraph further points out that picture also resembles the SS Port Nicholson, a steamer also sunk by U-87 during June 1942, but which was sunk 2,000 miles north of Guyana, near Cape Cod.
Sub Sea Research initially indicated that the Blue Baron was not the SS Port Nicholson. However, in early 2012, Sub Sea Research reported that they had discovered the wreck of the Port Nicholson off Cape Cod, and that it contained nearly £2 billion worth of precious metals. It is not yet clear whether these are two distinct wrecks, or whether the location of the Blue Baron in Guyana was falsely reported.
- Copping, Jasper (January 24, 2009). "British shipwreck holds 2.6 billion, treasure explorers claim". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 22 May 2012.
- Osborn, Andrew (2 February 2012). "£2 billion treasure chest of sunken Second World War British steamer 'discovered'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 6 February 2012.
- British Shipwreck Could Hold £2.6 Billion in Treasure
- British shipwreck holds £2.6 billion treasure, explorers claim
- Sub Sea Research