Odyssey Exploration recovers silver from shipwreck

Odyssey Exploration says it has recovered most of the silver from UK ship sunk during WWII

Associated Press
SS Gairsoppa silver recovery
.

View gallery

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- A U.S. deepwater salvage and exploration company said on Monday that it has recovered more than 61 tons of silver bullion this month from a British cargo ship that was torpedoed during World War II.

Odyssey Marine Exploration said the recovery includes 1,574 silver ingots weighing about 1,100 ounces each. The silver was recovered from a depth of nearly three miles, and marks a record for the deepest and largest precious metal recovery from a shipwreck, the company said.

The company said the silver has been moved to a secure facility in the U.K. It said its contract with the U.K. Department of Transport calls for the company to retain 80 percent of the salvaged value of the cargo. At current prices, the silver would be worth over $35 million.

The SS Gairsoppa is a 412-foot steel-hulled British cargo ship sunk in 1941 by a German U-boat about 300 miles off Ireland's coast. It sits 15,420 feet deep.

Odyssey said 2,792 silver ingots have now been recovered from the Gairsoppa, which is more than 99 percent of the insured silver reported to be aboard the ship when it sank.

The company said sources including Lloyd's record of War Losses show that uninsured government-owned silver may have been aboard the ship, but so far, no uninsured silver has been found.

Odyssey used remote vehicles to recover the silver. The company said the recovery was complicated by the size and structure of the Gairsoppa, and the latest silver was stored in a small compartment that was difficult to access.

View Comments (1033)