Friday, July 20, 2012

U.S. company recovers 48 tons of silver from British wartime shipwreck off Irish coast

A US deep-sea exploration company says it has recovered about 48 tons of silver from a British cargo ship that was sunk by a torpedo during World War II.

The haul comes from the SS Gairsoppa, which was hit by a torpedo from a German U-boat about 300 miles off Ireland's coast in 1941. It now sits 15,420 feet deep.

Salvage firm Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc said it's the heaviest and deepest recovery of precious metals from a shipwreck ever made.

So far, workers have brought up more than 1,200 silver bars, or about 1.4 million troy ounces. As of mid-day Wednesday, it was worth about £23.7 million (about $37 million).

The company is under contract by the British government and will get to keep 80 per cent of the haul after expenses.

SS Gairsoppa was steaming home from India in 1941 while in the service of the Ministry of War Transport when she was torpedoed by a Nazi U-boat.

She sank in icy seas more than three miles deep about 300 miles south west of Ireland. Only one of her 84 crew survived.

The 412-ft steamship is sitting upright on the seabed, with its holds open. Read More