WASHINGTON — A treasure hunter from Maine says he has located and will soon start salvaging what he's calling the most valuable sunken treasure ever found.
Greg Brooks of Sub Sea Research says a wreck 50 miles east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts is that of the Port Nicholson, a British merchant ship sunk by a German U-boat in 1942.
He says the ship was carrying 71 tons of platinum now worth about $3 billion.
Brooks says he identified the ship's hull number using an underwater camera.
"We're fascinated with digging up the history of this because most of it was all top secret," said Brooks.
Brooks says he first located the wreck in 2008 and was granted salvage rights by a federal court judge.
Only a few people know the exact location of the wreck.
"We came across trapezoidal shapes vase. And in the '40's, the only thing they made in trapezoidal shape was precious metals," Brooks said.
He plans to begin salvaging the platinum this winter by hauling up crates he says are filled with the platinum bars.
"We've had a device built specifically for this box that will go down with a line attached. Attached that mechanism to this crate and we'll haul it up by hand. The ROV won't have to do it," said Kevin Lachance, the ROV pilot.
"We're not going to all just keep it and hoard it away. We have pet projects like feed the kids in Maine, help people in Massachusetts and in Haiti," Brooks said.