SS Gairsoppa Project Overview
The SS Gairsoppa was a 412 foot steel-hulled British cargo steamship that was enlisted in the service of the United Kingdom Ministry of War Transport and sunk by a German U-boat on February 17, 1941, approximately 300 miles southwest of Galway, Ireland.
The UK Ministry of War Transport paid an insurance loss of approximately £325,000 at the time for silver bars lost with the ship. In 2010, the United Kingdom (UK) Government Department for Transport awarded Odyssey, through a competitive bid, the exclusive salvage contract for this cargo from the SS Gairsoppa. 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 Gairsoppa silver cargo. Additional, self-insured government-owned silver may be aboard as well. Sources, including Lloyd’s Record of War Losses indicate a total cargo of silver worth £600,000 at the time, which would equate to approximately seven million total ounces of silver was on board.
In 2011, the Gairsoppa shipwreck was located by Odyssey approximately 4,700 meters below the surface of the North Atlantic, in international waters approximately 300 miles off the coast of Ireland. Recovery operations on the site commenced in the second quarter of 2012. On July 18, 2012, Odyssey announced the recovery of approximately 48 tons of silver (1.4 million ounces) from the Gairsoppa site. Then in 2013, Odyssey recovered more than 61 tons (1.8 million ounces) of silver from the shipwreck - this is the largest and heaviest recovery of precious metal from a shipwreck in history. To date, Odyssey has recovered over 110 tons or 2,792 silver ingots (more than 99% of the insured silver documented to be on board) from the SS Gairsoppa.
For more information on the history of SS Gairsoppa click here
For an operational overview of the project click here
For answers to FAQ about the Gairsoppa click here
To see pictures of the Gairsoppa shipwreck site click here, video can be viewed here