A Florida-based deep-ocean marine exploration company announced in a press release on Monday that it can confirm that the wreck of the SS Gairsoppa.

According to Convoy Web, SS Gairsoppa, a British steam merchant ship, was sunk on February 17, 1941, after being hit by a torpedo.  The torpedo attack killed the ship’s master, 81 crew members and two gunners; there was just one lone survivor.

Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. state that the wreck was discovered 4, 7000 meters under the North Atlantic, approximately 300 miles off the coast of Ireland.  The identity of the ship was confirmed after an exploration using an ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle). The information gained from the exploration confirmed the identity of the ship. The data retrieved will be used to plan the recovery operation and assess the condition of the wreck.

Among the cargo on the SS Gairsoppa was 7 million ounces of silver ingots. The silver had a value of £600,000 in 1941 and would be worth £150 million today.  The ship was also carrying pig iron, tea and general cargo.

Commenting in a press release, Andrew Craig, Odyssey Senior Project Manager, said:

“We’ve accomplished the first phase of this project – the location and identification of the target shipwreck – and now we’re hard at work planning for the recovery phase.”

“Given the orientation and condition of the shipwreck, we are extremely confident that our planned salvage operation will be well suited for the recovery of this silver cargo.”

The Department of Transport in the UK awarded the salvage contract to Odyssey Marine Exploration in 2010.  The company will keep 80% of the net value of any silver salvaged; the remaining 20% will go to the Government treasury.

In 2003, Odyssey Marine Exploration discovered the wreck of the civil war ship SS Republic®.  The subsequent exploration recovered 50,000 coins and 14,000 artifacts.  Another exploration in 2007 yielded yet more deep-ocean treasure when the company recovered more than 500,000 silver and black coins from a Colonial era site which had the code name of “Black Swan”.

The company say that they have a number of shipwreck developments around the world.  It has not yet been confirmed when the recovery operation for SS Gairsoppa will begin.

For details of the recovery operation, you might like to read:


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