UK ship sunk by U-boat discovered
Marine explorers have found the site of a British cargo ship sunk by a German U-boat during the Second World War off the coast of Ireland.
The SS Gairsoppa was carrying seven million ounces of silver, worth 152 million euro at today's prices.
The 412 foot steel-hulled ship was torpedoed while in the service of the Ministry of War Transport.
Odyssey Marine Exploration said it had confirmed the identity and location of the shipwreck site, nearly 4,700 metres below the surface of the North Atlantic, about 300 miles off the coast of Ireland in international waters.
The company said in a statement: "Contemporary research and official documents indicate that the ship was carrying £600,000 (the 1941 value of 691,178 euro ) or seven million total ounces of silver, including over three million ounces of private silver bullion insured by the UK government, which would make it the largest known precious metal cargo ever recovered from the sea."
He said that in 2010 the UK Department for Transport awarded the company, through a competitive tender process, the exclusive salvage contract for the cargo of the ship.
Under the agreement, Odyssey will retain 80% of the net value of the silver bullion recovered.
The Odyssey team carried out remotely operated vehicle operations from the ship Odyssey Explorer to inspect the site.
"The video and photographs acquired during the exploration of the shipwreck were reviewed and analysed at length to confirm the identity of the shipwreck as that of the SS Gairsoppa," the spokesman said.
Company president and chief operating officer Mark Gordon said: "The target was located with side-scan sonar and then visually inspected in less than two months from the start of the operation."