Potential $4 Billion Loot from WWII Wreck Beckons Treasure Hunters

By Gillian Mohney

Apr 30, 2012 2:41pm

The crew aboard the 220-foot Sea Hunter is on the hunt for an exceedingly rare catch, nearly $4 billion in gold and platinum from a World War II era shipwreck.

The Maine-based Sub Sea Research crew aboard the vessel have searched for the Port Nicholson wreck for nearly five years and are now on their way to retrieve their first piece of treasure.

Sub Sea Research co-founder Greg Brooks believes the wreck could be carrying platinum and gold ingots that were originally a payment from the Soviet Union to the U.S. for war supplies.  The Port Nicholson was sunk in 1942 by German U-boats only 50 miles off the coast of Provincetown, Mass.

Brooks talked to ABC News affiliate WCVB-TV about what it means to reach the wreck after five years of effort.

“Some dreams are more difficult to achieve than others,” Brooks told WCVB-TV. “This one is like astronomical.”

The Sub Sea Research team was named official custodians of the wreck by the U.S. Marshals Service and stand to make 5 percent of the treasure’s value. It could mean each crew member would receive about $8 million.

Technician Nick Snyder said his mother had already commandeered his portion of the potential treasure.

“”Well my mom wants to redo her kitchen, that’s about it,” Snyder told WCVC-TV. “She’ll get that and maybe a new car.”

However during the current trip, the team doesn’t plan on coming back as millionaires. Instead Brooks told WCVB-TV their plan is merely to survey the wreck to ensure that nothing has changed or shifted since their last exploration.

But the team isn’t planning on going home completely empty handed. After putting $6.5 million into the search, the Sub Sea Research team hopes to pick up at least one gold bar to help finance a future upgrade on their boat.

In a video Brooks posted to the company’s twitter account, the narrator explains that the most lucrative portion of the treasure is also thought to be in the most perilous part of the wreck and could potentially ruin the company’s expensive equipment. However the video ends with the definitive statement, “Go big or go home.”

Brooks echoed that statement telling WCVB-TV, “We’re going to do it, guaranteed.”

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