Multi-Million Dollar Gold Cargo Found in Chilean Ship Sunk South of Argentina

Por Dialogo
junio 24, 2009

Five years after its first outing, the “Dinosaurs of Argentina“exhibition has arrived Serbia, at the Continental Hotel in New Belgrade. In the middle of the most attractive exhibits are the complete skeletons of seven dinosaurs, including a 14-meter-long giganotosaurus from the Cretaceous period and a 17-meter long rebbachisaurus, an herbivore from the similar period. Buenos Aires, 23 June (EFE).- A search ship confirmed that the cargo of 9.5 tons of gold and silver carried by the Chilean fishing boat Polar Mist remained in its hold, five months after it sank in the Atlantic, off the southern coast of Argentina, the Buenos Aires press reported today. The discovery put an end to suspicions that the shipment, valued at around 19 million dollars, had been stolen shortly before the mysterious sinking of the fishing boat at the eastern entrance to the Strait of Magellan, some forty kilometers from the Argentine coast. A submersible with video cameras operated remotely from the ship C-Sailor determined that the Polar Mist was around eighty meters down, without major damage, and with its cargo intact, sources connected to the recovery operation told Clarín and La Nación daily newspapers. They indicated that the Vanuatu-flagged C-Sailor had been working in the area of the shipwreck for the last week and that an operation with divers and equipment was now being prepared to recover the shipment of gold, which belongs to mining firms of South African, Canadian, and Argentine ownership. The Polar Mist is “on its belly” on the ocean floor, with all its compartments closed and with light damage attributable to the impacts suffered upon sinking, the sources indicated. The search ship is crewed by personnel from the Dutch recovery firm Mammoet, contracted by the London insurer Lloyds, and members of the coastal police of the Argentine province of Santa Cruz, who are acting as observers. The Chilean fishing boat, which had been refitted to carry cargo, ran aground in unexplained circumstances on January 18, following a storm at the entrance to the Strait of Magellan, which joins the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans at the southern tip of the American continent. Two days later, the Chilean tugboat Beagle found the Polar Mist without visible damage and took it under tow in order to bring it to Río Gallegos, the capital of Santa Cruz, but had to release it once it became evident that the ship was starting to sink. The Polar Mist’s eight Chilean crew members were safely rescued by an Argentine naval helicopter and taken to Río Gallegos. Almost two months ago, an expedition that planned to recover the shipment was frustrated after the insurance company and two Argentine maritime unions failed to agree on the amount of money that would be paid as a reward. Cerro Vanguardia, controlled by the South African firm Anglo Gold with minority participation by the Argentine state firm Formicruz, had filed a claim for the payment of 16.4 million dollars for the loss of 6.9 tons of the gold shipment that the Chilean ship was carrying. Another 2.6 tons of ingots of unrefined gold and silver belongs to Triton Argentina, a subsidiary of the Canadian firm Pan American Silver, which also has Formicruz as a minority partner.
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