On Monday, September 26th, US salvage firm Odyssey Marin Exploration announced an amazingly exciting discovery - A World War II (WWII) shipwreck containing an estimated 200 tons of silver and possibly, other yet undiscovered treasures.
The shipwreck has been identified as the remains of SS Gairsoppa, a British cargo ship which set sail from Kolkota, India in December 1940 with silver, iron and tea. Originally headed for Liverpool, London, the ship was separated from its military escort due to bad weather off the coast of Ireland. To make matters worse, it began to run out of fuel, forcing the captain to make a detour and head toward Galway, Ireland.
Unfortunately, en route it was hit by a torpedo from German Submarine U101. While 32 of the 85-member crew managed to clamber onto lifeboats, only one - Second Officer Richard Ayres survived and made it to the Cornish coast live!
The reason it took over 70-years to find the remains is because of depth the cargo boat sank down to. In fact, it was not discovered by human divers, but by Odyssey's robotic scanner which had to dip 4,700 meters or almost 3 miles below the surface of the water. This is believed to be the deepest treasure ever found and, the largest too. The silver alone is estimated to be worth $250mm USD and there could be other undiscovered precious cargo.
Odyssey, who plans to begin retrieving the treasures sometime in the spring when the waters are a little calmer, believes that it will be relatively easy, given that the shipwreck is sitting upright. As for the loot? The US firm will get to keep 80% of it, with the rest going to the British Government since it was found in the Atlantic seabed, 300 miles South West of Ireland, in what is technically designated as British waters. And we thought discoveries like this happened only in movies!
Resources: Telegraph.co.uk, Rediff.com