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Shipwreck may contain more than €110bn in gold


Dmitrii Donskoi

Dmitrii Donskoi

Dmitrii Donskoi

A South Korean salvage team has discovered the wreck of a Russian warship that was sunk in a naval battle 113 years ago and which it claims contains a trove of gold bullion and coins worth 150 trillion won (€110bn).

Dmitrii Donskoi, an Imperial Russian Navy cruiser, was discovered at a depth of more than 1,400ft, about 1.5km off the South Korean island of Ulleungdo.

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

The company behind the discovery has promised to use a percentage of the money, if it is retrieved, to fund a railway line linking Russia and South Korea through North Korea.

The video includes images of 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.

Launched in St Petersburg in August 1883, the Dmitrii Donskoi was designed as a commerce raider and fitted with both a full set of sails and a coal-fired engine. It spent most of its existence in the Mediterranean and the Far East during the Russo-Japanese war.

It was attacked by a Japanese fleet in May 1905, managing to evade the initial assault but was intercepted heading for the Russian port of Vladivostok.

Reports say it went down with 5,500 boxes of gold bars as well as 200 tonnes of gold coins. (© Daily Telegraph, London)