Rescue Prepared for Sunken Ship Containing Millions in Gold and Silver
By Dialogo March 10, 2009Buenos Aires, Mar 10 (EFE). - Next week a ship from Norway will begin efforts to rescue the “Polar Mist,” a Chilean fishing vessel which mysteriously sank carrying a load of more than nine tons of gold and silver bars in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Argentina. The rescue was ordered by the British insurance company Lloyds with an estimated cost of approximately two million dollars, the newspaper Clarín reported today based on sources affiliated with the operation. Lloyds hired the vessel “Skandi Patagonia,” which features a team of seven divers, one heliport, and a system of powerful propellers that enable it to remain in the same spot despite waves, for the rescue. Since 2002, the Norwegian vessel has been providing logistic services to the French oil company Total Austral for its exploitation of deposits south of Argentina. The “Polar Mist” sank after a storm on January 18 at the Atlantic entrance of the Strait of Magellan, carrying a cargo of 9.5 tons of “golden metal,” bars of 90% silver and 10% gold, appraised at about 18 million dollars. Of the valuable load of the “Polar Mist”, 6.9 tons belong to the mines of Cerro Vanguardia, with the participation of the South African Anglo Gold (92.5 percent) and the Argentinean State company Fomicruz (7.5 percent), while the remainder belongs to the mining company Triton Argentina, a subsidiary of the Canadian Pan American Silver. “It may be easier to lift the vessel than to remove the eight boxes (from the gold cargo) that are in the ship’s hold”, said a speaker for the rescue group. It is believed that the "Polar Mist," which was caught by surprise in a storm with waves of up to ten meter high on January 16, sank to a depth of 75 meters with its valuable cargo, has a device that sends a signal to help it be located. The rescue group believes that the cargo of gold and silver can be recovered in a few days if there are no setbacks.