Shipwreck Yields 61 Tons of Silver

Odyssey Marine Exploration pulls up more treasure from SS Gairsoppa

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 23, 2013 8:54 AM CDT | Updated Jul 27, 2013 7:00 PM CDT

(Newser) Odyssey Marine Exploration has uncovered the biggest load of treasure ever recovered from a shipwreck: 61 tons of silver bullion. The haul was pulled up this month from the SS Gairsoppa, a British cargo ship that sank off the coast of Ireland in 1941 after being torpedoed by a German U-boat. Not only is it the biggest recovery in history, it's also the deepest, coming from a depth of almost three miles, the Tampa Tribune reports. If you can't picture what 61 tons of silver looks like, Bloomberg reports that it's 1,574 silver bars.

The Gairsoppa had already yielded almost 48 tons of silver last year, so it has now given up 99% of the insured silver it was reported to be carrying when it sank. Odyssey was hoping to find uninsured silver as well, but did not. Odyssey, a Tampa-based company, won the bidding war to recover the treasure and will retain 80% of the haul. The British government gets the rest. But this haul isn't worth quite as much as last year's, since silver prices have gone down recently. It's currently worth about $35 million, $3 million less than what Odyssey got last year for the smaller haul, Reuters reports.

In this July 2013 photo released by Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc., Odyssey senior project managers inspect the first silver bar recovered in 2013 from the SS Gairsoppa site, near Ireland.
In this July 2013 photo released by Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc., Odyssey senior project managers inspect the first silver bar recovered in 2013 from the SS Gairsoppa site, near Ireland.   (AP Photo/Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc.)
In this July 2013 photo released by Odyssey Marine Exploration, one example of a .999 fine silver ingot recovered from lot four of the insured cargo documented for the SS Gairsoppa shipwreck site.
In this July 2013 photo released by Odyssey Marine Exploration, one example of a .999 fine silver ingot recovered from lot four of the insured cargo documented for the SS Gairsoppa shipwreck site.   (AP Photo/Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc.)
In this July 2013 photo released by Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc., the over 60 tons of silver recovered by Odyssey Marine Exploration is documented, collected, and stored aboard the Seabed Worker.
In this July 2013 photo released by Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc., the over 60 tons of silver recovered by Odyssey Marine Exploration is documented, collected, and stored aboard the Seabed Worker.   (AP Photo/Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc.)
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