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Kuda Maru – WWII Japanese Gold Wreck Expedition

During the first week of May 2012 a daring team of technical divers did an amazing 16 trimix dives to depths of +/‐90m (300ft) using rebreathers on a WWII shipwreck that is believed to be the Kuda Maru, off the coast of Cebu, Philippines.

The Kuda Maru is shrouded in mystery, superstition and folklore of Japanese stolen gold on board being guarded by the ghosts of the Japanese sailors that perished, when it was sunk by American forces during WWII. The purpose of the expedition was to attempt to positively identify the shipwreck as the Kuda Maru.

“Because of the extreme depth and long decompression times required we could not spend more than 45 minutes at the bottom” said Theuns van Niekerk spokesperson for the expedition. “The extreme silting on the wreck and 70 years of corrosion made it impossible to find name markings on the hull of the shipwreck. We took extensive HD footage of the wreck and we will now start to compare specific features of the wreck with pictures and drawings of the Kuda Maru, to attempt identification.”

During the mid-1990s three local divers are reputed to have lost their lives in attempts to locate the gold. An expedition by Steve Sargison in 2000 failed to locate any gold on the wreck.

The expedition was sponsored by Scotty’s Action Sports Network (www.divescotty.com) in Cebu, Philippines. Expedition divers were: Theuns van Niekerk, Scott Livingston, Patrice Laborda, Lou Holder, Damjan Perenic.