There has been controversy surrounding the recent discovery of the Donskoi which sank 113 years ago off the coast of Ulleungdo island. Rumors of lost treasure being found on the ship have only led to increased media attention.
The Shinil Group, a South Korean company, claimed they found the Donskoi on July 15th around 9:50 pm. They estimated the ship to be at a depth of 434 meters and 1.3 km off the coast of Ulleungdo. The “Dmitri Donskoi” was originally an armored cruiser serving in the Russian Second Pacific Fleet. She saw combat during the Russo-Japanese War and sank near Ulleungdo on May 29, 1905.
In a statement they said, “Once exploration is complete, we will take the necessary steps to begin the registration process that will grant us ownership.”
However, these claims have quickly been called into question because 15 years ago, on May 15, 2003, Doctor Yoo Hae-soo and his team of scientists from the Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology discovered the Donskoi. It was located 400 meters in a deep-sea valley and the bow of the ship was also reported by Yoo’s team to have been facing downward. An official at the Institute said, “Shinil Group is simply using Dr. Yoo’s data from 15 years ago.”
Although rumors have long circulated that the Donskoi carried 150 trillion KRW worth of gold coins and 200 tons of gold, these claims cannot be verified. Over the years, struggling businesses have used these rumors to make a profit.
신일그룹 탐사팀이 촬영한 ‘DONSKOII'(돈스코이) 함명. 신일그룹 제공