Hunt for Most Valuable British Shipwreck

A team of marine experts aims to locate a historically significant shipwreck that sank 400 years ago, carrying an estimated $4.3 billion worth of gold.

The Royal Merchant, a 17th-century English treasure ship, sank in 1641 off Lands End, eastern England, during bad weather. Laden with riches from Mexico, including approximately 100,000 pounds of gold, 400 bars of Mexican silver, and 500,000 silver Pesos, the vessel carried a crew of 80 under the command of Captain John Limbrey. Its hold was reported to contain a substantial fortune in silver, gold, and jewels.

In recent times, speculation arose when a substantial anchor, potentially belonging to the Royal Merchant, was retrieved off the coast of Cornwall by The Spirited Lady in 2019. Now, a team of marine cargo recovery experts from Cornish-based company Multibeam Services, aided by former local fishermen, is gearing up to search for the wreck and its treasure.

Multibeam Services, equipped with advanced technology, plans an extensive search throughout 2024, covering a 200-square-mile area of the English Channel. Utilizing remote-controlled unmanned submersibles fitted with sonar and cameras, each valued at approximately $3.8 million, the team is confident in their ability to locate the wreckage.

Previous reports suggested the wrecks discovery by Odyssey Marine Exploration, legal disputes ensued, with the wreck purportedly being identified as a Spanish frigate, according to State Department Cables from Wikileaks.

It will be fascinating to see if they can find it and even more, who the treasure will belong to, once it is found.

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