A salvage company has located the remains of the Russian warship Dmitrii Donskoi, lost during the Russo-Japanese War at the beginning of the 20th century, the South China Morning Post reports.
The battle-damaged cruiser was sunk off the coast of Korea in 1905, reportedly carrying a cargo of gold worth an estimated $130 billion in today’s dollars.
According to the Telegraph, the Donskoi was found less than a mile off the coast of Ulleung island, at a depth of 1,423 feet in the Sea of Japan. A submersible descended to the wreck and captured an image of the ship’s name on the stern in the Cyrillic alphabet.
The South Korean Shinil Group, which discovered the wreck, plans to recover the gold sometime later this year with help from companies in China, Canada, and the U.K.
Video footage released by the company shows images of extensive damage to the 5,800-ton warship. Cannons and deck guns encrusted with marine growth, as well as the anchor and ship’s wheel, can be seen.
Built in St Petersburg and launched in August 1883, the Dmitrii Donskoi was designed to serve as a commerce raider and was fitted with both a full set of sails and a coal-fired engine.
The ship spent most of its operational career in the Mediterranean Sea and the Far East and was ordered to sail from the Baltic to join Imperial Russia’s Second Pacific Squadron after the Japanese fleet destroyed the majority of Russia’s naval power in the Far East in the opening encounters of the 1904-05 Russo-Japanese War.
There are reports that the Dmitrii Donskoi was carrying the funds that the Russian fleet required to pay for fuel, port fees and the crews of its ships and that it was scuttled with 5,500 boxes containing gold coins and bars still in its holds so that the Japanese would not seize the prize.