SS Port Nicholson – Sunk Off Cape Cod in 1942, a $3 Billion Shipwreck?

The Portland, ME based, Sub Sea Research (SSR) recently sent out a press release announcing that they had located what they claim to be “the worlds richest shipwreck,”  the British freighter, SS Port Nicholsoncarrying a secret cargo of 71 tons of platinum, sunk by the German submarine U-87 on June 16th, 1942 Northeast of Cape Cod, MS.  From the press releaseSSR first discovered the Port Nicholson in 600-800 feet of water off Cape Cod in 2008. In 2009 SSR obtained legal recognition from the US Courts as the legal owner and salvager of the ship.  The company also posted a Youtube video documenting their discovery.

According to SSR research, the Port Nicholson and four other ships were being escorted by six military ships in a convoy from Halifax to New York. The Port Nicholson is documented to be carrying ~1,707,000 troy ounces of platinum. It may also contain $165M of copper, zinc and war stores. Greg Brooks, one of two SSR founders, said his team has already recovered several identifying and critical artifacts. He has verified that “it is without a doubt the Port Nicholson”.

Late in the summer of 2011, after 100’s of hours of ROV video, they have seen what appear to be bullion boxes containing 4 bars, each being 400 troy ounces of precious metal. “We have seen boxes indicative of those used to store and ship this type of bullion in 1942. Our video clearly shows the box and our inspection class remotely operated vehicles (ROV) could not lift it due to its weight of about 130 lbs.”

The Richest Shipwreck Treasure, in Bostons back yard

Thanks to Irwin Bryan for passing along the news.

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19 Responses to SS Port Nicholson – Sunk Off Cape Cod in 1942, a $3 Billion Shipwreck?

  1. Alan Rice says:

    Hey! You guys slipped a photo of a US Navy AKA in there. Wot’s wi’ that, mate?!

  2. Rick Spilman says:

    The rigging from the photo doesn’t look like any Navy AKA I’ve seen.

  3. Mike Brodie says:

    While my interest in World War II is magnified by the fact it is one of few connections with my Father, I find it interesting that the Soviets actually sent some payment for all war materials shipped to them during the conflict. Somebody had to ‘pay’ for all that Spam … as well as the all the weapons, etc. to pursue the their war effort. : )

    OBTW, nice blog!

  4. steveperkins says:

    gday from nz, who was the captain of the port nicholson when it was torpedoed ,will explain later ,to anybody who interested, steve perkins , ex liverpool with connections to port line

  5. Steve, no idea there is no wikipedia link for the port nicholson which is interesting considering its current interest. wonder if its been kept quiet for a certain reason… or reasons!

  6. Rick Spilman says:

    There seems to be some confusion created by the folks at SSR. Back in 2009, SSR announced that they had located a British freighter, which they code-named “Blue Baron”, sunk by the German submarine U87 in June of 1942 which was carrying 70 tons of platinum. Sounds just like the Port Nicholson, except that SSR said that the shipwreck was in 800ft of water about 40 miles off Guyana. Skeptics at the time noted that the U87 was not anywhere near Guyana when the ship was said to be sunk and that the photo of the “Blue Baron” used by SSR looked a lot like the Port Nicholson.

  7. Dan Filson says:

    So Sub Sea Research (SSR) has in just five years discovered not one but two ships each carrying £2+billion of platinum, one in just 600-800 feet of water off Cape Cod, the other in 800ft off Guyana. Yeah right.

  8. Rick Spilman says:

    We will be posting about it tomorrow. Press releases are not the same as platinum.

  9. bowsprite says:

    “Platinum is an extremely rare metal, occurring at a concentration of only 0.005 ppm in the Earth’s crust.”

    Not anymore. Now it’s on top of it.

  10. Pingback: The Port Nicholson, the “Blue Baron” and the 70 Tons of Platinum – Déjà Vu ? | Old Salt Blog – a virtual port of call for all those who love the sea

  11. Kimberly says:

    Bring up a box…then we’ll know for sure! Hope they have enough power with the equipment they’ll be using.

  12. Paul Dubay says:

    Interesting chatter all, but regardless of doubts and questionable details from “other sources” Greg and the SSR folks have done what most dream of. They worked for years against odds and found a big needle in
    a haystack. Now it seems the naysayers are still hopeful to disprove and the monday-morning-quarterbacks have their hands out for a chunk of what they had no part in. It would be proper for those who had doubts or no interest in SSR, to keep their unapproving noses where they were before the Port Nicholson was found. Fair winds and following seas SSR.

  13. Rick Spilman says:

    The proof is in the platinum.

  14. Billl Flynn says:

    I wrote a book: A DRUMBEAT TOO NEAR:Cape Cod WW ll…It dealt in part with the German Operation Drumbeat that sent U-boats to the East Coast of United States…During my preparation for a lecture relative to that book, I noted some interesting data. I researched two lists of U-boat patrols and they were extensive in listing the name of ALL ships torpedoed during WW ll with logitude & lattitude of location along with the U-boat by number that sunk each ship. I believe one list was compiled by the Germans.
    Two interesting items as a result of this research:
    1) There was no mention of the sinking of the Port Nicholson by U-87 in this early official data. Was that incident kept secret then because of the platium & other metals cargo? Did the Germans withhold that sinking in order for a future salvage oportunity?
    2) The U-87 was not shown as being active in the East Coast area of the Atlantic relative to engaging or torpedoing other ships on and around June 16th 1942. Was U-87 sent by Admiral Donitz on a dedicated mission to sink the Port Nicholson after German spies found out about that pressious metal cargo..crucial to The American war effort? Why was the location of the sunken Port Nicholson kept so secret with cover up for so many years?
    Any comments or clarifications would be appreciated..Thank You…Bill Flynn

  15. Pingback: The Recovery of the SS Port Nicholson, sunk by U-87 in 1942... laden w/ Pt?

  16. John A. DeMasi says:

    The information, and the position of the attack has been on for years. The wreck is easy to find if you can read a chart. Just look for the reported gear hangups on any good captains fishing charts.

  17. Tim Shusta says:

    I am looking for anyone who worked for Port Line who may know of sources of information on the history of the company and/or the Port Nicholson or personal knowledge of same. Reply to

  18. Lars Van Ness says:

    It’s unlikely that the salvage-rs will find anything of value at this site. The USSR, like most other recipients of wartime Lend-Lease supply’s, were not required to make re-payments. The material was donated in an effort to defeat a common enemy. First material was under a lease to lend to the Soviets. Any material that was lent but consumed (ie food) or destroyed (either in combat or on delivery) did not have to be paid for. Second, all material returned did not have to be paid for either. There was plenty of stuff that was collected by US vessels from the Soviet Union that was taken out to international waters and dumped into the sea. The Soviets didn’t have to pay for that.

  19. Linda Dow-Ives says:

    The report of USSR sending precious metals to US, was prior to receipt of lend lease goods. Like a Good Faith deposit, also kept Germans from looting it, may have been sunk, then secretly recovered. Britain, although owning the ship would have no rights to USSR cargo on board, and if the British lost goods, they were insured anyway.

    That Captain only spent 50days on the water in five years, after they discovered the boat??? Hell, I would have lived on that boat, till that treasure came up. Also, if they can dredge up a sunken Nuclear Russian Sub, why can’t they pull up treasure from a merchant ship right off the coast, in 600 meters of water? Answer is, they can, and did already.