Huge Silver Haul Found On WWII Shipwreck
A team of shipwreck explorers has discovered the largest known haul of precious metals ever found in the sea.
Odyssey Marine Exploration located the wreck of the SS Gairsoppa in international waters, around 300 miles off the coast of Ireland.
The British cargo ship was sunk by a German U Boat in February 1941 while in operation as part of the war effort.
It was torpedoed two months after leaving India with its cargo.
The vessel had run low on fuel and became separated from the rest of its convoy when it was spotted by the Germans.
Only one of the 32 crew who managed to escape in lifeboats survived.
It is believed it was carrying more than seven million ounces of silver, worth £600,000 according to the valuation at the time. That is £132m at today’s prices.
The wreck is 4,700 metres (2.92 miles) below the surface.
Video and photo footage of the Gairsoppa were obtained by the team after sending a remotely operated vehicle to the wreck.
Neil Cunningham Dobson, Odyssey’s Principal Marine Archaeologist, said: “Even though records indicate that the lifeboats were launched before the ship sank, sadly most of her crew did not survive the long journey to shore.
“By finding this shipwreck, and telling the story of its loss, we pay tribute to the brave merchant sailors who lost their lives.”
The contract to recover the wreck was awarded to Odyssey by the government in 2010.
As part of the deal, the company will retain 80% of the value of the silver recovered.