This past summer, Discovery Channel cameras rolled as the world's best-known deep-sea recovery team, Odyssey Marine Exploration (OME), successfully recovered approximately 48 tons of silver bullion from the SS Gairsoppa - making it the deepest and heaviest cargo recovery in history.
SILVER RUSH, a new three-part series airing back-to-back on Sunday, Feb. 24 from 8-11 PM E/P, will tell the story of one of the greatest deep-sea treasure quests of all time. Narrated by Mike Rowe, the series will take viewers on board Odyssey's flagship, the Odyssey Explorer, as it launches its most audacious operation ever -- locate and excavate three shipwrecks worth as much as a billion dollars all in one season.
In 2007, Discovery Channel was there as OME hit the jackpot with the discovery of the "BLACK SWAN," a Colonial-era site with 17 tons of silver and gold worth hundreds of millions of dollars. However, after a five-year legal battle, Odyssey was forced to hand over the treasure to Spain, one of the nations that claimed the treasure. The ruling delivered a blow for OME founder/CEO Greg Stemm and the company's anxious investors. "You have to be willing to go through years of very difficult situations with your eye on the prize long term," Stemm said.
Undaunted by the "BLACK SWAN" outcome, the Odyssey team sets their sights on three new projects including:
· SS Mantola, an ocean liner sunk in 1917 in 8,000 feet of water off the Irish coast, with a silver cargo worth an estimated $20 million.
· HMS Victory, the flagship of the royal navy located in the English Channel, that was lost in 1744 and may have carried a billion dollar load of gold.
· SS Gairsoppa, a freighter that was torpedoed in 1941 off the coast of Ireland, purported to have silver bars potentially worth $200 million dollars. The catch? This shipwreck lies deeper than the Titanic at nearly three miles below the surface of the North Atlantic.
If the historical records are right, and Odyssey can find and recover the valuable cargoes in extreme conditions, the payoff could make the "BLACK SWAN" loss look like pocket change. But will they be able to complete the entire recovery effort in just 90 days before punishing storms roll in?