Portuguese shipwreck gold to be recovered
All the contents of a
500-year-old Portuguese shipwreck discovered by
chance off Namibia will be salvaged by the end
of next week, the ministry of culture in Lisbon
Archaeologists from Portugal, Namibia, the
United States and Zimbabwe are working to raise
the cargo, which included hundreds of gold
coins, before October 10, which Namibian
officials said was a deadline imposed by the
huge costs involved.
However the Portuguese culture ministry said the
deadline had been October 2, because weather
conditions were expected to put a stop to work
by that date.
Now new forecasts of good weather had enabled
the date to be put back to October 10, it said.
Last week, the Namibian culture ministry said
the rescue operation was costing some 100,000
Namibian dollars (12,500 dollars, 8,500 euros)
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
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 (46 pounds), six bronze cannons,
silver, several tonnes of copper, huge elephant
tusks and a variety of weapons.
"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.