The SS Gairsoppa was a 125-meter 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 16, 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 Marine Exploration an exclusive salvage contract for this cargo from the Gairsoppa.
In 2011, Odyssey located the Gairsoppa shipwreck approximately 4,700 meters below the surface of the North Atlantic, in international waters, 300 miles off the coast of Ireland.
Recovery operations on the site were conducted by the Odyssey team of project managers, ROV operators and engineers starting in 2012. In July of that year, Odyssey announced the recovery of approximately 48 tons of silver (1.4 million ounces) from the site. Then in 2013, Odyssey recovered more than 61 tons (1.8 million ounces) of silver from the shipwreck. To date, over 110 tons or 2,792 silver ingots (more than 99% of the insured silver documented to be on board) has been recovered from the SS Gairsoppa.
This groundbreaking operation is one of the largest to be conducted in the deep ocean. The project was featured in the three-part Discovery Channel series SILVER RUSH. Recently released Voices from the Deep tells the story of the ship using the wreck's wide-ranging finds including the 700 pieces of mail which were conserved and studied.