An expedition recently got underway to recover the silver cargoes believed to be on board the SS Gairsoppa and SS Mantola.  Odyssey Marine Exploration first discovered the shipwrecks in 2011 and work began earlier in 2012 to prepare for the expedition.

US-based Odyssey Marine Exploration is using the 291-foot M/V Seabed Worker in the expedition.  Commenting in a press release, Mark Gordon, Odyssey COO & President, said:

“Modern steel wrecks such as Gairsoppa and Mantola require an advanced set of tools capable of surgically cutting through steel decks and removing bullion. After stringent review of available capabilities, we believe Seabed Worker is perfect for these projects. The ship has the ability to carry up to 300 tons of cargo below her decks. With the potential of over 240 tons of silver that may be brought up from both sites, we’re confident that we’ve brought together the right team, the tools and transport features necessary to make this a secure and successful operation.”

“We also expect to continue utilizing our own ship Odyssey Explorer for archaeological operations on HMS Victory in the English Channel.”

SS Gairsoppa was sunk in 1941 by a German U-boat and records show that there were 83 crew and 2 gunners were on board at the time of the sinking, with a 2nd officer being the only survivor.  The document also shows that the ship was heading from Calcutta to London.  The ship sunk as it sailed along Galway Bay and was discovered below the north Atlantic. When the ship sank, the documents show Gairsoppa was carrying tonnes of pig iron.  Gairsoppa also carried £600,000 worth of silver ingots which would be worth millions of pounds at today’s values.

SS Mantola shared a similar fate to Gairsoppa when in 1917 the ship was struck by a German torpedo as is sailed to Calcutta carrying passengers and a cargo which included silver.  The ship was located approximately 100 miles from Gairsoppa in 2011.

Odyssey Marine Exploration is working under contract for the Department for Transport in the UK and will keep 80% of the net value after expenses have been covered.

For more about SS Gairsoppa, visit:

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