Big time treasure hunters make beeline for Solomons
While a report from global corporate consulting firm Ernest & Young recently warned that speculative mining companies were finding it an uphill task to raise capital for projects in countries like the Solomon Islands, there seems to be no dearth of treasure hunters funding themselves to dive deep in Solomons’ waters in search of gold.<!--more-->
Following an internet story on a popular Pacific website about an “eyewitness” who knew of a sunken treasure off the country’s coast, people have been thronging the country, boosting tourism numbers in a country that has traditionally lagged behind in tourism in comparison with the rest of the Pacific islands. Among them are reported to be such big names as Paul Allen of Microsoft, who is a WW-II enthusiast.
The story goes that the sunken gold believed to be in a Japanese warship that lies at the bottom of the ocean off the Solomon Islands got there as a result of the ship being sunk by American forces during WW-II. No one seems to be bothered to ask why a Japanese warship would carry gold while going into battle.
Rumour also has it that the Solomon Islands Government has invested heavily into tracking down the gold, without any appreciable results as of yet. These rumours have spurred on private treasure hunters.
The article spoke about a single Solomon Islander who was in the know – the son of a local man who claimed to have been a cook on the sunken Japanese vessel carrying the gold. “You will find steel boxes lining the hold of the boat,” the father is quoted as having told him, “lying in 50 to 60 meters of water.”
Whether treasure lies buried off the Solomon Islands coast or not, the country’s tourism industry is earning some much needed cash and getting some free global media space and time in the bargain.