Some 48 tons of silver worth $38 million have been recovered from a British merchant ship that was torpedoed off the coast of Ireland during World War II.
The 412-foot steel-hulled Gairsoppa cargo ship, which was enlisted under the government’s Ministry of War Transport, was attacked by a German U-boat 70 years ago when it was on its way to Britain from India. More than 1,200 silver bars have been recovered by Odyssey Marine Exploration., a Florida based salvage specialist company.
Search for the Gairsoppa began in 2010 when Odyssey Inc. won a contract from the UK government to recover the ship, which sat 4,700 metres deep in the North Atlantic. The company has also been commissioned to recover the SS Mantola, a second cargo ship sunk during World War I.
Of the $38 million, Odyssey Inc. will get to keep 80% while the remaining 20% will go to the British government. This recovery operation is said to have broken the records for the deepest and heaviest recovery of precious metals from a shipwreck.
For now, the Gairsoppa silver has been shipped to a secure facility in the UK. The company said there was five times as much silver yet to be recovered from the operation, which will raise the total worth of the cargo to about $190 million.
The salvage operations are being filmed by JWM productions and the progress will be aired on the Discovery Channel in the U.S. and Channel 5 in the UK.
Below is a video that was already featured on the Discovery Channel, showing how the silver is being hauled from the bottom of the ocean: