A team from Odyssey Marine Exploration being filmed by Discovery Channel successfully recovered approximately 48 tons of silver bullion from a depth of approximately three miles in the North Atlantic. This initial recovery of bullion from the SS Gairsoppa, a 412-foot steel-hulled British merchant cargo ship that sank in February 1941 after being torpedoed by a German U-boat during World War II, totals 1,203 silver bars or approximately 1.4 million troy ounces of silver. Discovery film crews captured the entire mission for a television special that will air in first quarter 2013.
"We congratulate the Odyssey team on this amazing achievement and can't wait to see the whole story. Whether it's the search for The Remains of Amelia Earhart in the South Pacific or the quest to explore the universe with our brand new Discovery Channel Telescope in Arizona, Discovery is more than our name, it's what we put into action from land, sea and sky," said Eileen O'Neill, Group President Discovery and TLC Networks.
This record-breaking operation has so far produced the heaviest and deepest recovery of precious metals ever from a shipwreck. Odyssey began recovery operations with the 291-foot Seabed Worker in late May after completing a series of reconnaissance dives earlier in the year.
"We're excited to showcase the work of our outstanding marine operations team as they conduct ground-breaking exploration work in the deep-ocean. Discovery Channel has a reputation of bringing viewers educational and entertaining television programming and we're honored to be featured on their platform as it allows us to share not only the excitement of the deepest, heaviest precious metals recovery from a shipwreck but also the long-forgotten story of the SS Gairsoppa, a WWII merchant ship," said Greg Stemm, Odyssey CEO & Co-Founder.
Serial numbers and other markings from the silver bars recovered to date all match the contemporary insured silver cargo documentation therefore it is anticipated that the entire insured amount is aboard. However, it is unknown at this point whether there is additional uninsured silver on the site.
Odyssey is conducting the Gairsoppa project under contract with the UK Department for Transport. Under the terms of the agreement, which follows standard commercial practices, Odyssey bears the risk of search and recovery and retains 80% of the net salved value of the Gairsoppa silver cargo after recovering its expenses. The contract was awarded to Odyssey following a competitive tender process.