The Treasure Frigate “Thetis”
When the 46-gun frigate Thetis was wrecked on Cape Frio, Brazil in December 1830, she was bound for England and carrying £160,000 in gold and silver. The ship sank in comparatively shallow water, but soon broke up. Rear Admiral Sir Thomas Baker (commanding the South American Station) organized the salvage of the treasure, working with Thomas Dickinson, a merchant captain with considerable engineering skills. Using improvised diving bells, a Royal Navy team retrieved almost all the precious metal. Legal disagreements followed as Dickinson sought a higher proportion of the salvage value.