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10 Days of Astonishing Shipwreck Treasure: The British Treasury Ship

February 25th, 2016 by Piper Smith

Day seven.

The British Treasury Ship ($200 million).

The S.S. Gairsoppa sunk in 1941 after being torpedoed by a German U-boat. The ship carried a total cargo of silver, approximately 7 million ounces, worth £600,000 at the time. In 2010, Odyssey Marine Exploration won the exclusive salvage contract for its cargo after the UK Government Department of Transport put out a tender. Under the terms of the contract, Odyssey carries all the risks involved but retains 80 percent of the pieces salvaged.

A year later, the wreck was discovered in the North Atlantic, approximately 4.6 kilometers (2.8 mi) below the surface. Odyssey recovered 48 tons of silver (43 percent of the lost treasure) but had to stop the project due the weather conditions. The complete weight of the haul makes it the largest known metal cargo that has ever been recovered from the sea. The excavation will resume when the rough weather season passes.