ATEAM of divers has recovered nearly $US20 million worth of gold from the waters off Argentina’s Patagonian coast.
A border police officer on duty in the city of Rio Gallegos confirmedto The Associated Press that the effort to recover the Polar Mist’svaluable cargo ended Sunday.
The ill-fated vessel, named the Polar Mist, sank on January 18 at a depth of 80 metres, in bad weather. The accident occurredaround 40km off the coast of Santa Cruz, prompting a search for its9.4-tonnes of gold and silver. Jorge Palmes – president of Cerro Vanguardia SA, the Argentine owner ofthe mine where the gold was extracted – said seven bars of metalremained on the ocean floor.
A marine recovery outfit raised the loot from the depths and transported it to an Argentine customs facility,where it was weighed in front of a federal judge, sources have said.
After months of negotiations between the shipment’s owners andinsurers, the C-Sailor search ship located the wreck on June 23 andconfirmed the cargo was still aboard.
The Polar Mist was scheduled to make a stop in Punta Arenas, a portin Chile’s southern tip, and then head north to Santiago where the load wasto be flown from the Chilean capital to Switzerland.
The British insurance company Lloyd’s, which insured the cargo,hired Dutch recovery company Mammoet to locate the ship after itdisappeared. Mammoet in turn contracted C-Sailor for the job. In July, divers from the C-Sailor recovered the first of nine baskets of the precious cargo from the ocean bottom.