A Korean company announced on July 17 that it has found the hull of a Russian “treasure ship” that sank 113 years ago in waters off Ulleung Island in the East Sea.
The ship, dubbed the Dmitrii Donskoii, was a first-class armored cruiser of the Russian Baltic Fleet. It is said to be carrying 5,500 boxes of gold coins and gold bars worth 150 trillion won (US$ 133 billion) when it sank at the time of Russo-Japanese War in 1905. Apart from the treasure, the ship itself is considered to be a historical artifact worth 10 trillion won.
Shinil Group announced the battleship was found on the seabed at a depth of 434 meters, 1.3 km away from Ulleung Island, at 9:50 a.m. on July 15. The company’s exploration team photographed the stern of the ship on which the ship’s name was inscribed.
The team also found 203mm cannons, 152mm long-distance guns, a number of machine guns, anchors, two stacks, three masts, wooden decks and armor.
Shinil Group is a construction company headquartered in Seoul. It builds apartments under the brand name of Shinil Utovill. The company is also engaged in the biotechnology business and runs a crytocurrency exchange. It recently expanded its business portfolio by acquiring Cheil Steel. On top of these businesses, the company has been engaged in discovering the Dmitrii Donskoii for years.
The group’s CEO pledges on its own homepage that “We will surprise the world by discovering the Donskoii.”
Shinil Group has a comprehensive support system for the salvage of the ship: a GT 3000-ton-class marine crane barge, two 2,400-horsepower tugboats, one Zodiac, and two Deep Worker 2000 by Nuytco of Canada. The cost for salvage is known to be 80 billion won.
The group attracted attention by disclosing a donation plan. It announced that it would invest 10% of the 150 trillion won worth of treasure found in the ship in making Ulleung Island a global tourist attraction. It said it would build a Donkoii memorial and movie set on the island and operate cruise packages to the island.
The company also said it would donate another 15 trillion won (US$13 billion) to the inter-Korean economic cooperation projects, and railway and road infrastructure construction through consultation with Russia.