It has been reported that Tommy G. Thompson, an adventurer who located a sunken treasure off of the Carolina coast in 1988, has gone into hiding. According to his crew and key investors, Thompson didn’t provide them payoff for their involvement after he garnered cash for gold.
Thompson discovered the “Ship of Gold”, a 280-foot ship that sank in 1857 and settled on the ocean floor at approximately 8,000 feet deep. Once he and his crew pulled the gold from its resting place, it was shopped from San Francisco to Panama. After sitting in Panama for a short amount of time, it was then sent via rail to Central America and finally to New York by steamship.
Eventually, Thompson sold about $52 million bars to a California mint. Following the sale, Thompson’s crew of nine technicians has gone to court to ask for their $2 million in payment. The result of their effort has been futile, as the proceedings have continually been delayed because Thompson can’t be located.
In August of 2012, U.S. District Judge Edmund Sargus put a warrant out for Thompson. At 60-years of age, Thompson continues to be able to evade those who seek to track him down. The last time he has been seen is in a trailer park in Florida. According to Thompson’s attorney, the treasure hunter is at sea and hasn’t been in contact with him for a long period of time.
It has been rumored that Thompson knows where 500 restrike gold coins that were created as result of the treasure are held and $30 million of the treasure has been unaccounted for to this point. According to his lawyer Avonte Campinha-Bacote, “Mr. Thompson has not been made aware of and has no knowledge of the warrant out against him and it’s my understanding when he does come back from sea he has every intention of complying with that court’s order.”
Since the discovery of the treasure in 1988, Thompson has been plagued by litigation. Lawsuits have been posed by rival salvagers, insurance companies, and 161 investors who put up $12.7 million to find and access the treasure.
The saga continues and no one can be certain how it will end up. What exactly has Thompson done with his gold? Did he sell gold and spend the money or is his very own treasure stored somewhere out of reach? The world just may find out in the coming days.
The finding of the treasure was chronicled in Gary Kinder’s 1999 book “Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea.” It appears that this moment in time poses as perfect for party two of the book. Stay tuned for more news on Thompson the treasure hunter!