As the fallen cruise ship Costa Concordia sinks slowly into the unforgiving waters, it takes with it millions of dollars worth of jewelry, cash, antiques, silverware, glassware, and thousands of art objects, including 300-year-old prints from Japan. Beneath tossing waves of the Mediterranean Sea, the treasure lies trapped on board.
The Costa Concordia was considered a luxury cruise liner, so big that it was essentially a small floating city or town. Passengers brought with them their finest jewelry, clothes and plenty of cash.
They lost lots of jewelry--watches, necklaces, whatever women wear when they want to get well dressed, said Hans Reinhardt, a lawyer representing 19 German passengers. They wanted to show off what they have.
The cruise liner is worth approximately $590 million. However, that does not take into account the valuables on board. Furniture, paintings, champagne, wine, and other valuables were tucked away in passengers' rooms and safes.
Quantifying this is impossible because unfortunately the ship has sunk, said Costa Crociere, the company that operated the Costa Concordia, according to the Associated Press. Until the ship is recovered there's no way to know what can be saved and what can't.
Just like with the Titanic and the thousands of sunken ships before, hunters are already attempting to cash in on the sunken ship. Even the Mafia and other criminal syndicates from Italy are seeking the make some quick money off the fallen ship. They are employing diving units to go after loot on board.
However, no one can legally take anything from the ship. Costa Crociere still owns the doomed cruise liner and the passengers still have legal possession over their lost items. Also, the Italian government has cordoned off the ship.
As long as there are bodies in there, it's considered off base to everybody because it's a grave, said Robert Marx, a veteran diver and the author of numerous books on maritime history, underwater archaeology and treasure hunting, according to the Associated Press. But when all the bodies are out, there will be a mad dash for the valuables.
Marx estimates that in four to six months' time, divers and serious treasure hunters will begin making their way to the ship. But others will wait longer in fear of the ship shifting off the reef it collided into.
The Costa Concordia is not the only sunken ship making news in the treasure world. Greg Brooks claims he located a wreck o a World War II British merchant ship estimated to be carrying approximately $3 billion. The ship was allegedly sunk by a German U-Boat off Cape Cod.
I'm going to get it, one way or another, even if I have to lift the ship out of the water, Brooks said, according to the Associated Press.