Gold-laden shipwreck will be raised next week
The operation is costing R100,000 a day
500-year-old Portuguese shipwreck discovered by
chance off Namibia will be salvaged by the end
of next week.
This is according to the ministry of culture in
A team of archaeologists from Portugal, the
United States and Zimbabwe are working to raise
the wreck before October 10 — the deadline set
by Namibian government officials owing to huge
Last week, the Namibian culture ministry said
the rescue operation was costing some 100,000
Namibian dollars (R100,000) per day.
All that is keeping the wreck intact is an
artificial sand wall created by mine workers
with bulldozers to push back the sea for diamond
However, the Portuguese government said that its
“fundamental interest” is “to guarantee the
complete protection” of the ship and the
adjacent sea-bed’s remaining cargo.
The ship was found in April during the diamond
It contained over 2,300 gold coins weighing some
21 kilograms, six bronze cannons, silver,
several tonnes of copper, huge elephant tusks
and a variety of weapons — all tugged out of the
Experts believe more treasure will be found
under its resting place when the salvage
operation is complete.
The statement said the rescue work should have
been finished by October 2, but recent bad
weather would now delay completion until October
“The relics will be rescued by the expected date
for the end of the operations,” a spokesman for
the Portuguese ministry of culture told AFP.
The abundance of objects unearthed where the
ship ran aground along Namibia’s notorious
Skeleton coast, where hundreds of vessels were
wrecked over the centuries, has amazed even
Under international maritime laws, a wreck and
its treasures belong to the country where they
were found, and the initial haul of coins is now
locked in the vaults of the Bank of Namibia in
The government said it plans at some point to
mount an exhibition of the findings and later
erect a special museum in Oranjemund to house
the incredible collection.