Paradise found.

When the Swedish steamship, Kyros, was torpedoed by a German U-boat on May 19, 1917, it’s believed that not only did the ship sink, never to be found, but that it was carrying a precious cargo of cognacs and liqueurs.

Never to be found, that is, until now.

1000 bottles of 1917 cognac

A diving group, Raumanmeren Hylky-Team, announced yesterday (Thursday 9th February), that they’ve now found Kyros.  Although they’ve not given an exact location, it’s been said that the ship lies in the Gulf of Bothnia – a location between Finland and Sweden, north of the Åland Islands and west of Rauma.

Cognac Treasure Wreck

The size of the cognac treasure that’s thought to be in the murky depths is still open to question, but some reports have said that there could be as many as 1000 bottles of cognac and 300 bottles of liqueur.

Unsurprisingly there have been diving teams searching for this sunken treasure trove for many years now.  There was a false alarm in the late 1990s when a team believed they’d found the Kyros.  However this proved to be unfounded – in fact all they’d found was a rocky outcrop.

The depth at which the ship is lying – around 80 metres below the surface – makes discovering what’s inside and bringing the cargo to the surface an extremely delicate operation.  It appears that the ship is still relatively intact, although age and erosion is starting to have an effect.

Diver, Pasi Rytkönen, said of the procedure,

“It’s extremely difficult to operate down there.  The ship is intact, although it has begun to slowly fall apart and there’s lots of sediment. You can’t just go down there and just bring up whatever.”

As for a question of who legally can take possession of the wreck, owners of either the ship or the cargo appear to have been found.  The diving team say that this means that the ship and its precious cargo will be subject to a case of ‘finders keepers.’

And 1000 bottles of 100 year old cognac is certainly a treasure that the cognac world is extremely excited about.  Let’s hope that the cargo is found to be intact and that it’s possible to be recovered.

Sources: Pic: Pasi Rytkönen

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Paradise Found - WWI Ship Wreck Loaded with a Treasure of Cognac

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Jacki has been with Cognac Expert from virtually the beginning. She's the senior editor of the blog, and has spent much of her life living in rural France. Today she's based back in the UK, where she splits her working life between writing for Cognac Expert and working as a Paramedic at a large regional hospital.

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