|Odyssey Marine Exploration recovered 61 tons of bullion this month, 1,574 precious bars, from the SS Gairsoppa, a 412ft (126m) British cargo ship that went down in February 1941 about 300 miles off Ireland in international waters.|
Odyssey Marine, pioneers in the field of deep water treasure hunting, exploration and salvage, have taken about 99% of the insured silver from the ship. Greg Stemm, Odyssey's chief executive, said the recovery has been an extremely complex operation, adding: "To add to the complications, the remaining insured silver was stored in a small compartment that was very difficult to access."
In total, Odyssey has taken 2,792 silver bars from the ship, including the latest haul of ingots weighing about 1,100 ounces each or almost 1.8 million troy ounces. Last year's payload of 1,218 bars was valued at £25m as silver prices were higher then. In the latest haul, 462 bars were of very high purity silver, .999 silver, and stamped with the brand HM Mint Bombay.
The precious metal - a world record recovery because of the depth and size - was taken ashore in Bristol and sent to a secure location in the UK. It will be analysed and refined before being sold.
|The 412-foot British ship was shipping a cargo of silver when she was sunk by a single German torpedo on February 17, 1941 about 300 miles south-west of Galway, Ireland. The ship had a crew of 85 but only one man survived.|
The Gairsoppa rests about 3 miles below the surface, and the operation to retrieve her cargo is said to be the deepest and largest precious metal recovery ever.
|The salvage of 48 tons or 1.4 million ounces of silver in 1,203 bars is about 20% of what the Gairsoppa had in her hold. Bad weather halted the recovery effort.|
The rest remains 15,420 feet deep in the North Atlantic. Another expedition is planned for mid-2013.