Establishing a Kingdom

In the early years of the 20th century, the Sultan of Najd, Abdulaziz ibn Abdulrahman Al-Saud, led a legendary campaign to reunify the whole of Arabia. By 1932 he had succeeded in uniting these lands and placing them under his authority, thereby founding the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Financing the Allied War Effort

The USS John Barry carried a consignment of Saudi Riyals destined for the Arabian oil fields to support the Allied war effort. The secrecy of the cargo was maintained until 1984 when documentation and correspondence revealing the existence of this precious cargo was declassified.

Outfitting the USS John Barry

Apart from the 65 tons of trucks, 108 tons of cranes, 11 tons of auto parts, 23 tons of earth-moving equipment, and large quantities of steel plate and piping, the USS John Barry also carried a secret treasure cargo in Hold Number 2.

Sailing Perilous Waters

On 14th July 1944, the USS John Barry set sail en route for the Saudi port of Ras Tannurah located on the western shore of the Persian Gulf. Despite measures to escape detection, at 10:00 PM on the 28th of August the ship was struck by a torpedo from the German U-boat U-859 as she sailed unescorted eastward along the Coast of Oman.

Locating the Wreck

The position of the wreck was known to be approximately 125 miles South of Salalah, Oman, where the water depth is 8,600 feet. As late as November of 1992 the wreck had still not been located until the submersible Cyana positively identified the wreck by means of the builder's nameplate.

Recovering the Treasure

Flex LD, the recovery ship, sailed from Singapore, on October 5, 1994 and was on site above the wreck on October 21. Thirteen days after operations commenced and 50 years after the sinking of the USS John Barry, coins and broken boxes were observed in the grab! The proceeding operations brought up half the estimated coins.


Silver Riyal Coin


Certificate of Authenticity




The Recovery