Crew in bid to salvage £148m sunken treasure
The largest consignment of precious metal found in the sea — 200 tonnes of silver worth £148m — has been discovered in the wreck of a British cargo ship sunk by a German U-boat during the Second World War.
Odyssey Marine, an American underwater archaeology and salvage firm, will announce the discovery today with its plans to recover the bullion as part of a Government contract, under which it will retain 80% of the cargo's value.
The Gairsoppa, an ageing steamer, was ordered into the Merchant Navy fleet at the outbreak of war. It was sunk by a single torpedo in February 1941 after hitting heavy weather in the Atlantic and trying to reach safety in the Republic.
The well-preserved wreck of the 412ft steel-hulled ship was found by Odyssey this summer, nearly 4,700 metres below the inhospitable waters of the North Atlantic. The Gairsoppa was carrying about 200 tonnes of silver to help fund the war effort, sailing from Calcutta to Liverpool,