1987 Salvage Attempt
1987 Salvage Attempt

On-Site, 1987

In 1987, MAG attempted a salvage of the R.M.S. REPUBLIC using, as a guide, the Republic's "general arrangement" plans for her upper four decks - the saloon, promenade, upper and middle decks. MAG possessed little information, at that time, concerning the details of the Republic's lower deck, orlop deck, tank-top or bilge.

The GA plans were designed only as a general guide to enable passengers to learn their way about the public areas of the ship. First, Second and Third Class passengers were routinely provided with this type of plan and, as a result, the Republic's GA plans were widely distributed and relatively easy to obtain. The GA plans were used, for example, by the newspapers of the era to describe the collision.

New York Tribune, January 25, 09, 1;
and N.Y. Herald, January 25, 09, 1.

  - they were not designed for salvage operations. The Republic's construction plans, for the 1987 expedition, had not been located.

As a result, MAG, with the assistance of its naval architect Mr. Robert Stevens, developed a salvage plan based only on primarily generalizations and other historical information known about the construction of vessels of the period. MAG attempted to locate and remove the contents of the Second Class Baggage Room - the area MAG believed (and continues to believe) most likely to contain the gold cargo.

Although MAG recovered hundreds of artifacts, including dinnerware, silverware, ship's accoutrements, passenger effects, numerous wines [See also:Costly Sunken Champagne], the Republic's anchors (now forming the entryway to the Marine Museum at Fall River, on display there with other salvaged Republic items), and a wide variety of other artifacts (Republic artifacts are also on display at the DiscoverSea Shipwreck Museum, and within our Photo Gallery), the 1987 expedition failed to locate its intended target area.

In brief, we are looking for a shipment of gold coins that would occupy about three (3) cubic yards of space within a shipwreck that is nearly two football fields long, the equivalent of a collapsed skyscraper - and the gold is most likely in the skyscraper's basement ... The excavation of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Office Building (the Okalahoma City bombing) - a nine story building collapsed to a pile of rubble, provides some perspective. There, it took scores of workers, numerous cranes, bulldozers, jackhammers, trucks, 24 hour lighting, on dry land, etc. etc. - approximately four months to excavate that site. Now, take an equivalent amount of debris, throw it under 260 FSW, put two men out a diving bell, have one 40 ton crane - and you get a feeling for the difficulties.

In 1987, we were, simply, in the wrong part of this immense ship.

Research is always on-going, and is always safer (and cheaper) than on-site salvage. We wouldn't want to unnecessarily place our divers' lives at risk, nor would we want to unnecessarily risk our investors' capital.

We have since conclusively determined that the 1987 effort was mistakenly centered on the wine locker and cold-storage areas of the vessel; the Second Class Baggage Room was only 30 feet away, but this detailed information was unknown to MAG, and unacquired by MAG, until early 1988. Recently, too, we have acquired additional information (not available on the public sections of this website, but available to our investors) that further supports both the cargo's existence and its location within the vessel.

As a result of our on-going research efforts, our Summer 2000, 2001, 2004 and 2005 Condition Surveys, and with the on-site information and experience gained from the 1987 effort, we believe that a recovery of the Republic's legendary treasure can be accomplished within our forecasted operational budget and timeframe - if a gold cargo is indeed aboard the Republic. We are planning to concentrate our salvage efforts in only four (4) specifically defined and identified areas - one of which is, again, the second class baggage room. If the gold is not found in any of these areas, we may discontinue R.M.S. Republic operations.

We will either recover the Czar's treasure, or we will rest assured that the greatest legend in lost-treasure lore, a legend that has endured for nearly 100 years, is merely an intriguing fiction, a chimera - the Syrens' call ...

Mantis Duplus Manned Submersible
The Sun Sets on the 1987 Expedition

For information on year 2000, 2001, 2004 and 2005 on-site activity, see also Legal Notices.