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Court gives OK to quest for gold in sunken ship
By Laurel J. Sweet
Saturday, July 9, 2005

A modern-day swashbuckler has been awarded the world salvage rights to a sister ship of the Titanic that he's convinced sank off the coast of Nantucket with billions in gold in her belly.
     U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Gertner issued her decision last night on behalf of Martin Bayerle, 54, of Manhattan, after a New Jersey lawyer and the U.S. Department of Justice both mounted half-hearted attempts to scuttle a search of the RMS Republic.
     ``This will allow some order to the whole salvage operation,'' said Bayerle's attorney, Timothy D. Barrow. ``I just hope we can go forward now.''

     The White Star Line's 570-foot luxury liner sank in 1909 39 hours after she was hit by another ship in dense fog. Six people died.
     Bayerle was in Boston yesterday to get his legal affairs shipshape. After a preparatory trip this month, the go-for-the-gold will commence next summer and is expected to take up to four years and cost more than $12 million. The reward could be a treasure valued at between $1.6 and $10 billion, though he admits he has no proof the gold exists.
     But naval historian Paul Lawton said the legend of the Republic's cargo ``is like a bad penny that keeps showing up. I think you're going to find 10,000 American Gold Eagle coins in the trunk of your car before you find it in the wreck of the Republic.
     ``I'm not saying he's a fraud or a scoundrel,'' Lawton said of Bayerle. ``But I have seen people lose their shirts over stories like this.''
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