May 30, 2024


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The UK Supreme Court has ruled on $43 million worth of treasure from a World War II ship sunk by Japanese torpedoes.

The UK Supreme Court has ruled on $43 million worth of treasure from a World War II ship sunk by Japanese torpedoes.

South Africa has won a legal case over $43 million worth of treasure found in a World War II shipwreck found by a British exploration company off the coast of the country, the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court said on Wednesday. The sinking of the ship SS Tilawa – for which it was given the name “Indian Titanic” – It killed 280 people and led to more than 2,000 pieces of silver falling to the bottom of the ocean.

On November 23, 1942, Japanese torpedoes sank the SS Tilawa in the Indian Ocean, the court said. This was stated in a press release announcing the ruling. In addition to the more than 900 people on board, the ship was also carrying 2,364 pieces of silver that had been purchased by what was then known as the Union of South Africa for conversion into coins. The treasure aboard the sunken ship was unrecoverable until 2017, when a specialized salvage vessel from Argentum Exploration Ltd, a British company owned by hedge fund leader Paul Marshall, gained access to the silver.

The treasure was transported to the UK and declared the company’s property, with Argentum Exploration arguing in a lower court that maritime law stipulates that a person who salvages treasure can demand payment for its recovery. The company argued that the rescue was voluntary, meaning payment could be demanded even though South Africa had not asked them to redeem the silver.

South Africa argued that the lower court had no authority to hear the company’s claim because it was a foreign country, while the company argued that the country had no immunity in the suit.

The court said the argument before the court focused on whether the silver was “in use or intended to be used for commercial purposes” when the ship sank during World War II. The court first ruled in favor of Argentum Exploration and said that the silver was being used or would be used for commercial purposes.

South Africa filed an appeal, which was heard by the country’s Court of Appeal. That court agreed with the initial ruling. South Africa then File an appeal With the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.

SS Tilawa.

SS Tilawa Foundation

The High Court ruled that the silver was not being used and was not intended to be used for commercial purposes, and therefore South Africa was immune from the claim. The court said that while both parties agreed that Tilawa was being used for commercial purposes, the silver on board was not. The court ruled that planning to mint silver was not considered a commercial purpose.

“The goods in the ship’s hold are not used for any commercial or other purpose,” the court said in the press release.

The sinking of the ship Tilawa has been called the “forgotten tragedy” of World War II, according to the British newspaper “Daily Mail”. A website commemorating the incident. The ship was carrying 732 passengers, 222 crew members, and 4 gunners at the time of its sinking. In addition to silver, the ship was carrying more than 5,900 tons of other cargo.

Two torpedoes fired by the Imperial Japanese Navy hit the ship and sank it. The SS Tilawa is described online as “the only passenger ship attacked in the Indian Ocean during World War II”.

Two nearby ships were able to rescue 678 passengers, but 280 people died, according to the site.

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