Judge ends Maine man's attempt to salvage Cape Cod shipwreck

AP News
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Posted: Apr 01, 2015 10:58 PM

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A treasure hunter's effort to salvage what he calls $3 billion in platinum from a World War II shipwreck off Cape Cod has been ended by a federal judge.

Greg Brooks' company Sea Hunters LP is no longer allowed to salvage additional items from the S.S. Port Nicholson, which was sunk by a Nazi U-boat in 1942, U.S. District Judge George Singal ruled on Wednesday.

Brooks said he believed the Port Nicholson carried platinum bars from the Soviet Union that were payment to the U.S. for war supplies. His treasure hunt had led to a criminal investigation and legal action by investors who paid him millions of dollars.

The judge also denied an attempt by a group of investors to win recovery rights, claims to what's on the ship if anything is found. The judge wrote that evidence suggests there's nothing valuable to salvage.

The record, the judge wrote, suggests that all that remains is "70-year-old truck tires, fenders and miscellaneous other parts and military supplies."

The judge essentially ended Sea Hunters' rights to any claim to potential treasure. He cited Sea Hunters' actions "including the filing of falsified documents on this court's docket and its inability to salvage any items of substantial value." He issued the ruling with prejudice, meaning it's permanent.

Brooks, whose company is based in Gorham, said he wishes he could talk in depth about the case to provide "the real story" but his attorneys want him to be silent.

"I will say one thing, I still believe the cargo is aboard the PN," he wrote in an email. "I just cannot fight countries."

Brooks said he located the Port Nicholson wreck in 2008. His claim of valuable precious metals aboard led to a splash in the media in 2012, but there were immediate questions about the veracity of it. He eventually put his vessel up for sale and laid off his crew.