Odyssey Marine Exploration, a Florida-based deep-sea exploration company has recovered 61 tons bullion from a World War II shipwreck off the coast of Ireland. The exploration crew set a new record for the deepest and largest precious metal recovery from a shipwreck.

“This was an extremely complex recovery which was complicated by the sheer size and structure of the SS Gairsoppa as well as its depth nearly three miles below the surface of the North Atlantic,” Greg Stemm, Odyssey’s chief executive officer, wrote in a news release. “To add to the complications, the remaining insured silver was stored in a small compartment that was very difficult to access.”

With the price of silver at more than $19 per ounce, the haul is worth more than $34 million, 80 percent of which Odyssey will retain under the terms of the company’s contract with the United Kingdom Department of Transport.

In 2012, Odyssey recovered nearly 48 tons of silver from the same wreck, bringing the total haul to 110 tons, or nearly 99 percent of the insured silver reported to be aboard the Gairsoppa when it sank.

Odyssey discovered the SS Gairsoppa in 2011.

The Gairsoppa left Calcutta, India, in 1941 on its way to London with tons of tea and 7 million ounces of silver, worth 600,000 British pounds at the time.

A German U-boat spotted the vessel off the coast of Ireland on Feb. 17 and fired a torpedo that sunk the Gairsoppa 300 miles southwest of Galway Bay.

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

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