The wreckage of a British cargo ship sunk during the Second World War has been discovered in the North Atlantic, with the world’s largest-ever haul of precious metal onboard.
The SS Gairsoppa, which was torpedoed by a Nazi U-boat while in the service of the Ministry of War Transport in 1941, was carrying seven million ounces of silver when the shipwreck was discovered. The record haul is worth around £155 million at today’s prices.
According to The Telegraph, Odyssey Marine Exploration said it had confirmed the identity and location of the shipwreck site, which was nearly 4,700 metres below the surface of the North Atlantic and about 300 miles off the coast of Ireland in international waters.
The company said in a statement: “Contemporary research and official documents indicate that the ship was carrying £600,000 (1941 value) or seven million total ounces of silver, including over three million ounces of private silver bullion insured by the UK government, which would make it the largest known precious metal cargo ever recovered from the sea.”
In 2010, the UK Department for Transport awarded Odyssey Marine Exploration the exclusive salvage contract for the cargo of the ship.
Under the agreement, the company will retain 80 per cent of the value of the silver found.
To find and inspect the shipwreck, the Odyssey Marine Exploration team carried out remotely-operated vehicle operations from its ship, the Odyssey Explorer.
Odyssey company president and chief operating officer Mark Gordon said: “The target was located with side-scan sonar and then visually inspected in less than two months from the start of the operation.”
Watch the clip below for video footage of the SS Gairsoppa shipwreck discovery: