The Republic Shipwreck
New York and New Jersey's (Wreck Valley)
Historical and current New York and New Jersey Shipwreck Information and images for scuba
divers and fisherman.
The Republic was a570 foot by 67.8 foot White Star Line steamship.
She was built in 1903, weighed15,378 tons and was powered by 1,180 nhp quadruple expansion engines.
Due to dense fog on January 23, 1909, the Italian steamship,
Florida, rammed the Republic on her port side. Two passengers were
crushed to death immediately. For the first time in maritime
history, a wireless was used to summon aid. The R.C. Gresham and the
destroyer, Seneca rushed to the disaster site. All remaining
passengers and crew were rescued without mishap. The huge hole in
the Republic's side was plugged with a make shift collision mat made
from canvas. The Republic was then taken in tow by the Gresham, but
before reaching shallow water, she sank. The Republic had remained
afloat for 39 hours after her collision.
Aside from being the first to use a wireless, the Republic had two
other interesting aspects. She was the largest vessel of her day to
have sunk, and it is rumored that she was carrying three million
dollars in U.S. gold "eagles", worth about one and a half billion
dollars today. Apparently, the coins were en route from the U.S Mint
to the Bank of France. Although it's not documented as to which ship
was used for transportation, we do know that France never received
the coins, hence the conclusion by many marine historians and
treasure hunters is that the treasure is still aboard the Republic.
In August of 1981,Captain Steve Bielenda of the Research Vessel
Wahoo located the Republic's resting place. She is leaning slightly
to her port side in 240 feet of water, 26 miles south of Nantucket.
In 1987, at least three salvage operations attempted to locate the
gold. After extensive research and a costly expedition, they failed.
Maybe the gold doesn't really exist, or may be it's waiting for the
right explorer to solve the mystery.
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