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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Divers to Salvage Old French Spirits

STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- Divers have begun work to refloat a 1916 shipwreck carrying a valuable cargo of champagne, cognac and French wine for Imperial Russia, salvage consortium officials said.

About 500 bottles brought to the surface earlier this month were judged to have been preserved in excellent conditions in water temperatures hovering just above freezing point, C-Star officials said Sunday.

Consortium divers were building a metal cage around the J?nsk?ping, a 22.86-meter vessel powered by sails and oars, to lift it to the surface and tow it to G?vle port, Sweden.

The vessel, sunk by a German submarine during World War I, was lying 64 meters under water in the Gulf of Finland. The cargo of 5,000 bottles of 1907 vintage Piper Heidsieck champagne, 35,000 liters of cognac and 6,000 liters of red wine was estimated to be worth some $127 million.

The cognac and champagne were to have been delivered to the Russian imperial army and the wine to the bank of the Russian grand duchy of Finland.