PORTLAND, Maine - A shipwreck hunter says he has found the wreck of a World War II merchant ship that was torpedoed by a German U-boat off Cape Cod with a load of platinum now valued at $3 billion perhaps the richest hoard ever discovered at the bottom of the sea.
Greg Brooks of Sub Sea Research, in Gorham, Maine, said a wreck in 700 feet of water 50 miles offshore is that of the Port Nicholson, a British vessel sunk in 1942. He said he and his crew positively identified the hull number using an underwater camera.
Salvage operations should begin this month or in early March aboard a 220-foot vessel called Sea Hunter with the assistance of a remotely operated underwater vessel, he said.
"I'm going to get it, one way or another, even if I have to lift the ship out of the water," Brooks said.
Brooks said the Port Nicholson was going from Nova Scotia to New York and carrying 71 tons of platinum when it was torpedoed. The platinum was intended as payment from the Soviet Union to the United States, he said.
A federal court judge has granted him the salvage rights, he said.
"Maybe I'll buy a small island in the Caribbean," Brooks told the Boston Globe.
According to the Globe, it took several months to locate the ship, because it was roughly 15 miles from where it was reportedly sunk.
Brooks has been in the shipwreck business for nearly 20 years, with his previous biggest find being from a pirate ship near Puerto Rico.