The Billion-Dollar Victory

The HMS Victory, a naval ship sailing back from Lisbon to England, sunk on October 4, 1744. The ships accompanying it on its return lost sight of the Victory right outside the Channel Islands when a huge storm came through. The ship was captained by Admiral Sir John Balchen with a crew of over 1,100, all of whom died. 

Interestingly, the ship was the last to be armed with 110 bronze cannons. It was also reported to be carrying more than 100,000 gold Portuguese coins. Rescue ships were sent to search for the lost Victory. Locals on the Channel Islands reported wreckage washing ashore, including part of the mast. It was assumed that the ship crashed on the nearby Casquets rocks. The Victory wasn’t found for over 250 years. And it wasn’t found where they thought it sank.

On February 1, 2009, US excavation company Odyssey Marine Exploration found 2 of the 110 brass cannons. They soon after discovered the Victory some 50 miles from the Casquets. Because a US company discovered the wreckage, it raised the question of who was entitled to the millions of dollars in gold it held. But according to the laws of marine salvage, the ship and its contents belong to the British government. 

In January 2012, it was announced that the ship would be raised from the seabed. Odyssey Marine Exploration is set to handle the recovery. If estimates are right and they find on the ship what they think is there, the ship could be carrying a billion dollars in treasure.