Make us your home page
Instagram

Odyssey Marine recovers 61 tons of silver from SS 'Gairsoppa'

Odyssey Marine Exploration’s ship Seabed Worker is covered in pallets of silver ingots from the Gairsoppa shipwreck.

Discovery Channel

Odyssey Marine Exploration’s ship Seabed Worker is covered in pallets of silver ingots from the Gairsoppa shipwreck.

Tampa's sunken treasure hunting firm Odyssey Marine Exploration has recovered its largest haul yet, a record-setting 61 tons of silver bullion from the bottom of the North Atlantic.

Odyssey Marine said the recovery of the silver from the sunken British cargo ship SS Gairsoppa is reportedly the largest precious metal recovery in history.

Odyssey retrieved the treasure from a depth of 3 miles below the surface, also a record.

"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 3 miles below the surface of the North Atlantic," said Greg Stemm, Odyssey's chief executive officer, in a news release.

In 2010, the United Kingdom Department for Transport awarded Odyssey Marine the exclusive salvage contract for the cargo of the Gairsoppa. In September 2011, the company announced that it had found the ship.

Under a contract with the British government, the Odyssey will retain 80 percent of the value of the silver it recovers, estimated at $210 million.

"We have accomplished a world-record recovery at a depth never achieved before," Mark Gordon, Odyssey's president and chief operating officer, said in the release. "We're continuing to apply our unique expertise to pioneer deep-ocean projects that result in the discovery and recovery of lost cultural heritage, valuable cargoes and important and needed natural resources."

The Gairsoppa, a 412-foot steel-hulled British cargo steamship, began its career in 1919 under the service of the British India Steam Navigation Co. of London. It was engaged in commercial shipping activity in the waters of the Far East, Australia, India and East Africa.

The ship began its final voyage in December 1940 in Calcutta, India, loaded with nearly 7,000 tons of diverse and high-value cargo, including tea and a large quantity of silver that belonged to the British government. The ship joined a convoy in West Africa. Many of the merchant ships in the convoy were in a state of disrepair.

High winds and ocean swells forced the Gairsoppa to slow down. As the weather grew worse and the ship began running low on coal, it began sailing alone, without the protection of the convoy.

A German U-boat attacked the lone ship, spraying the Gairsoppa's 83-member crew and two gunners with heavy machine gun fire. One of four torpedoes fired from the U-boat struck the Gairsoppa, sinking it into the icy waters of the North Atlantic on Feb. 17, 1941. A lone crew member survived the attack, sailing in a lifeboat for 13 days back to shore.

Odyssey's stock price was down about 3 percent to $3.35 when trading ended Monday.

Ivan Penn can be reached at ipenn@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2332.

Odyssey Marine recovers 61 tons of silver from SS 'Gairsoppa' 07/22/13 [Last modified: Monday, July 22, 2013 7:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Citigroup agrees to pay nearly $100 million fine for Mexican subsidiary

    Banking

    NEW YORK — Citigroup has agreed to pay nearly $100 million to federal authorities to settle claims that a lack of internal controls and negligence in the bank's Mexican subsidiary may have allowed customers to commit money laundering.

    Citigroup has agreed to pay nearly $100 million to federal authorities to settle claims that a lack of internal controls and negligence in the bank's Mexican subsidiary may have allowed customers to commit money laundering. 
[Associated Press file photo]

  2. Goodbye Tampa Bay Express, hello Tampa Bay Next; but toll lanes aren't going anywhere

    Transportation

    TAMPA — Tampa Bay Express is dead.

    But it's replacement — Tampa Bay Next — will likely include many of the same projects, including express toll lanes on the rebuilt Howard Frankland Bridge.

    The Florida Department of Transportation on Monday announced that it was renaming its Tampa Bay Express plan, also known as TBX. The plan will now be known as Tampa Bay Next, or TBN. DOT officials say there are still re-evaluating the most controversial aspect of the old TBX plan: spend $6 billion to add 90 miles of toll roads to bay area highways - Interstates 4,75 and 275 - that are currently free of tolls. But TBN will keep the plan to add express toll lanes to the rebuilt Howard Frankland Bridge. [Florida Department of Transportation]
  3. Trigaux: Tampa Bay lands on Forbes 2017 ranking of best places for young professionals

    Working Life

    Consider this one more notch in the belt of Tampa Bay starting to win serious attention from millennials as place to live and build a career.

    Mike Griffin is a senior managing director in Tampa for Savills Studley Occupier Services, which provides integrated real estate services. He is also chairman for 2017 of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, the first of the next generation of leadership emerging in this metro market. [Courtesy of Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce]
  4. Leaders of Tampa Bay's top workplaces share insights, suggestions

    Business

    TAMPA — Nearly 300 people gathered at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts Tuesday morning to hear tips and insights from leaders of the highest-ranked workplaces in Tampa Bay.

    Bays Florida associates (From left) Robert Patterson, Amanda Boser, and Kellly Banchak talk during the reception before the start of the Tampa Bay Times Top Workplaces Live! program at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa, Florida on Tuesday, May 16, 2017.
[OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  5. Study: Florida most friendly state for retired veterans

    Working Life

    Florida is the nation's best state for military retirees looking for somewhere to settle. That's according to a study released Monday by WalletHub which rated Florida the most friendly when it comes to economic factors, quality of life and health care.

    Veterans watch the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during training camp in 2016. Florida is the most friendly state for retired veterans according to a new WalletHub study. | LOREN ELLIOTT, Times