The discovery of a shipwreck of a British merchant vessel is thought to be the largest haul of precious metal ever found at sea.
The SS Gairsoppa was carrying seven million ounces of silver, worth just over 200m dollars at today’s prices. The ship was torpedoed by a German U-boat in 1941 as it neared the end of its voyage from India to London. It sank nearly 500km off the south-west coast of Ireland, killing all but one of the 85 crew.
The wreck was discovered 4,700m below the surface by the US exploration company Odyssey Marine. Under the salvage contract with the British government the firm will get to keep 80 percent of the haul.
Odyssey hopes to start bringing the silver to the surface early next year by which time the cargo could be worth more – or less.