A South Korean company has discovered the remains of a Russian warship, which is said to carry gold worth two times more than the South Korean gold reserve.

Seoul-based Shinil Group says it has found the long-lost Dmitrii Donskoi, an armored cruiser ship believed to have sunk off the eastern coast of Korea in 1905 during the Russo-Japanese war that took place in 1904 to 1905.

The company says the ship contains an estimated 200 tons of gold bullion and coins, which amounts to 150 trillion won or $132 billion. South Korea's central bank itself has 104 tons of gold, which translates to $4.2 billion.

Russian Warship Discovered

An international team of divers from South Korea, Britain, and Canada discovered the Dmitrii Donskoi about a mile off the coast of Ulleungdo.

The ship was the first-class armored cruiser for the Russian Baltic Fleet, said to be the strongest fleet of Russian ships of its time.

According to historians, Captain 1st Rank Lebedev ordered the ship deliberately sunk near Ulleungdo before the sailors were captured and turned prisoners by the Japanese.

Shinil has released photos of a 6,200-ton ironclad warship, pointing out markings on the stern that the company says is the name of the company in Russian.

The company says it plans to raise the shipwreck from its 0.25-mile depth in October to November. Half of the gold be returned to Russia, while 10 percent of it will be used to fund tourism projects in Ulleungdo, including a museum dedicated to the shipwreck.

Russian Ship Dmitrii Donskoi

Dmitrii Donskoi left the Baltic Sea in 1885 before its last major encounter at the Battle of Tsushima, where 38 Russian ships fought against 89 Japanese vessels.

The ship left the battle scene and sailed northward to Vladivostok, where it met more Japanese ships and was badly damaged in the ensuing combat.

The Japanese took the remaining survivors as prisoners and the ship was scuttled about a mile from Ulleungdo.

The scars from the ship's last skirmishes could be seen in the photo released by Shinil. Much of the hull and the stern are badly damaged, but the upper deck and the armored portion of the hull are intact. All three masts and two chimneys are broken, but the anchors, machine guns, and cannons are in place.

Be Wary Of Fake Claims

The discovery has gotten South Korean investors scrambling to buy stocks for Jeil Steel, a local company whose shares were purchased by the Shinil president.

However, officials have warned against rash investments as it still remains unclear if the shipwreck and the presumed treasures can be recovered. Jeil Steel also announced that it is not related in any way to the "treasure ship business."

"Investors should beware because it's uncertain whether the ship is salvageable and whether Shinil would be able to gain ownership of the assets even if it gets permission to raise it," an official tells AP.

Other companies have made similar claims in the past. Dong-Ah Corporation, for instance, went bankrupt after saying it has found the Dmitrii Donkoi but failed to retrieve it.

Russian experts said in the past that it would be quite a stretch to find so much gold on a single ship. It would be much safer to transfer that amount by train, they said.

However, they also said that Dmitrii Donkoi could have carried the wealth of the entire Baltic Fleet. Presumably, the gold bars and coins were onboard to pay the salaries of the Russian navy officers.

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