Silver recovered from deep wreck

SS Gairsoppa gives up 48 tons of silver bars to salvage team

Author: Pat
19th July 2012
 

How’s this for spidge – Odyssey Marine Exploration has retrieved 48 tons of silver ingots from the wreck of the Gairsoppa.

Treasure brought to the surface amounts to some 1,203 silver bars, or ‘1.4 million troy ounces’ (the unit of measurement for precious metals.)

48 tons of silver worth £150million

SS Gairsoppa was a British cargo ship sunk in 1941. Detached from a convoy during World War 2 and heading for Galway in Ireland, a U-boat torpedoed the ship and sent her to the bottom.

In that particular part of the Atlantic the sea floor is around 4,700 metres deep, or three miles.

Stowed in the Gairsoppa’s hold was approximately £600,000 worth of silver bullion, worth around £150million in today’s money.

Seizing an opportunity, the UK Department for Transport signed a contract for the treasure’s recovery with Florida-based Odyssey, a team with notable deep ocean search and salvage credentials. HM Treasury will take 20%, with the remaining 80% of profits going to the salvor.

The wreck was located and its identity confirmed in mid-2011.

Odyssey says that so far around 43% of the insured silver bars (ie the ones known about on file) have been recovered by deep ocean ROVs. Serial numbers stamped on the ingots match historical records.

However, this could in fact be a mere 20% of the final total, as research suggests more silver was in fact aboard at the time of the Gairsoppa’s sinking.

Work will be completed by the autumn – but whatever happens 2012 looks set to be a bumper year for Odyssey. The company is simultaneously salvaging 600,000 ounces of silver from the SS Mantola wreck – a haul of booty worth around £12million.

 
 
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