If Shipwreck Treasure Hunter Is Correct, He Found World’s Biggest Booty

sunken treasureBreak out your scuba gear and book a trip to Cape Cod because if everything goes according to plan, scientists are about to pull up billions of dollars of treasure from the bottom of the Atlantic. Renowned treasure hunter Greg Brooks believes there's an old British merchant ship from World War II that was sunk by a German U-boat laying on the ocean floor just off the coast of Massachusetts. And on board? Three billion dollars in platinum bars. Billion. With a "b."

Brooks said the platinum was payment from the Soviet Union for war supplies the U.S. provided and also hypothesized that there's plenty of gold and diamonds on board, as well. There are, of course, some skeptics, but underwater cameras and marine records have a lot of people very optimistic about the discovery. Two words: Boo yah.

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First of all, it's just really exciting to think about. Hollywood has made millions off our fascination with hidden treasure and the fact that this is going down in real life is more than a little bit awesome. If the timetable is accurate, Brooks and team expect to surface the vessel in March. March!

Thing is, there's just one tinnnny little problem. If there is, in fact, billions of dollars of platinum bars on board, who does it belong to? Brooks and his business partner were awarded salvage rights by a judge back in 2008 when they first found the ship, but those aren't the same as ownership rights. And since Britain's gotten wind of the find, they're likely going to file a claim to the ship, as well. So we've got the treasure hunters, the U.S., and Britain in a yet-to-get-heated battle over this yet-to-be-uncovered bounty. Things could get interesting.

Or, you know, it could not. If I were the judge in this case, I think it's clear what to do. I'd throw $500 million at the treasure hunter, $50 million at Britain (as a "thank you" for being the transporter), and the rest would go right to the good ol' U.S. of A. The platinum was payment, it's not like we were getting it for nothing, so I guess in a sense it's still owed to the country. After throwing an awesome platinum-themed party, we could put the remaining $2.54 billion into teachers' salaries, or something awesome like that. See? Problem solved.

How do you think the treasure should be divided?

 

Photo via amanderson2/Flickr

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