An operation to recover up to €1 billion in gold in the North Atlantic from a sunken passenger ship off Co Donegal is underway.
Recovery operation launched to salvage €1 billion worth of sunken gold off Donegal coast
According to The Times, a private recovery operator is currently on an expedition, named Operation Neptune, to salvage the wreck that lies 500m deep about 130km off the coast of Co Donegal.
However, the location of the wreckage means that the cargo does not have to be transported back to Ireland as it is not the property of the Irish state.
In October 1940 the RMS Empress of Britain was abandoned after being hit by a Nazi bomber and set ablaze.
Two days later, on October 28 1940, it was sunk by torpedoes from the German submarine U-32.
If successful, the state has been informed and could be in line for a €75m windfall — but only if legislation is amended to reduce the find’s tax liability, as the company has demanded.
Under the Merchant Shipping (Salvage and Wreck) Act 1993 any cargo landed on Irish shores attracts a fee of 7.5 per cent of its value, which would mean a €75 million state windfall.
Pat “the Cope” Gallagher has been working closely with the company in order to try to make sure it can take the contents ashore.
He has urged the Transport Minister, Shane Ross, ensure the necessary amendments to the legislation are made so that the cargo, if found, can be landed in Donegal.
He said: “I will be prevailing on the transport minister to introduce the legislation necessary because the value of the contents will attract a significant benefit for the taxpayer,” Mr Gallagher said.
He added: “I believe the state must make every effort to help those expending considerable money on the exploration to land the cargo here.”