The SS Gairsoppa silver treasure is one of the largest precious metals finds in history. The British cargo ship was sunk by a German U-boat during World War 2. The British cargo ship carried 200 tons of silver, worth about $240 Million dollars at today′s prices. The Odyssey Marine Exploration found the vessel some 4,700 meters deep in the North Atlantic Ocean. They were awarded an exclusive salvage contract by the UK Ministry of Transport in 2010 to recover the cargo from the shipwreck. Technology including remotely operated vehicles (ROV), unmanned submarines, as well as side-scanning sonar examined the wreck site for some 2 months once the ship was located says company president Mark Gordon. Andrew Craig, who will head the recovery operation as senior project manager, says that it should take 3 months to completely remove all the silver. Under the contract agreement, Odyssey Marine will keep 80% of the recovered treasure, with the UK government getting the remainder.

ss gairsoppa silver

The Tampa-based company is no stranger to large treasure finds. In 2007, Odyssey Marine located a 17th Century vessel near the Florida Keys, the Black Swan. While it only held 17 tons of treasure, it was a mix of silver and gold coins, worth an estimated $500 Million dollars. So along with the gold, the sheer collectors value of such older coinage makes that find the most valuable ever. But with 200 tons of silver bullion, the SS Gairsoppa would become the largest find in terms of quantity.

The SS Gairsoppa silver treasure has been lying some 300 miles off the coast of Ireland since February, 1941. The British cargo ship was sunk by a German U-boat during the height of the Battle of the North Atlantic Ocean during what was perhaps the darkest days for England of World War 2. The discovery of the shipwreck by the Odyssey Marine Exploration company has been confirmed by using ROVs, unmanned submarines, to visibly inspect the shipwreck. At today′s silver futures prices, the 200 tons of silver bullion is worth about $240 Million dollars.