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Copyright © 1987 U.P.I.

United Press International

September 14, 1987, Monday, AM cycle

SECTION: Domestic News

LENGTH: 340 words

HEADLINE: Search for gold ends unsuccessfuly


    Treasure hunters, who suspended efforts to retrieve $1.6 billion in gold coins believed to be aboard a shipwrecked luxury liner off Nantucket, said Monday they expect to continue the search next June.

The search of the RMS Republic was called off due to strong autumn currents that made salvaging too difficult, said a spokesman for Sub-Ocean Salvors in Tampa, Fla., the group running the expedition.

The expedition began last June with expectations running high that the gold would be recovered, but the group did not have the necessary information to locate the coins, Sub-Ocean spokesman Michael Gerber said.

''We need to do more research and get more information about where the gold was kept,'' Gerber said. He said continuing the expedition would require additional investments, but he said he was confident more money could be raised.

''If we have additional facts in place about the ship and determine what method to use to go into the vessel, we'll probably be able to raise the money,'' he said.

Gerber said one reason the search failed was the group did not have a good plan of the lower deck, making a thorough search of that area difficult.

''We were surprised by the enormity of the vessel. One diver described it as 'wandering around in a junkyard at night,''' Gerber said.

Although the gold was not found, the salvors did retrieve thousands of artifacts, including dozens of cases of wine, china, ashtrays, pots and pans, he said.

The artifacts, worth several hundreds of thousand of dollars, will be auctioned off, Gerber said.

The Republic sank 55 miles off Nantucket on Jan. 23, 1909, after colliding with the SS Florida, an Italian vessel. All but six people were rescued.

The Republic was rumored to be carrying $3.5 million in American gold eagle coins when it sank in 280 feet of water 14 hours after it left New York.

Researchers have theorized the gold coins, which would be worth between $400 million and $1.6 billion today, were bound for Czarist Russia as aid from the French government.

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