Tampa's Odyssey Marine Exploration has pulled in quite a haul – 61 tons of silver bullion from a sunken British cargo ship this month.
The company posted pictures on its Facebook page. It's the largest and deepest recovery ever from a shipwreck.
The S.S. Gairsoppa sank in 1941 on its way from India to London, and it was loaded with tea and silver.
A German U-Boat spotted the vessel off the coast of Ireland and fired a torpedo, sinking it. It was found nearly three miles down.
Because the boat was so big and so deep, this was a difficult operation. The Tampa-based treasure hunting company used underwater robots to cut into the cargo holds and haul the silver up.
From FOX 13's Lloyd Sowers:
When I tried to lift
one, I was surprised by its weight. We were in the Tampa offices of Odyssey
Marine Exploration several months ago to get a look at some of the silver
ingots brought up from the SS Gairsoppa, a 412-foot steel-hulled British cargo
ship sunk by a German U-boat in February of 1941 off the coast of Ireland.
Each ingot (silver bar) weighs about 80 pounds. Today, Odyssey announced the second haul of silver from the shipwreck. In total, they now have 2,792 ingots, which represents 99 percent of the insured silver documented to be on board.
"This was an extremely complex recovery, which was complicated by the sheer size and structure of the SS Gairsoppa," said Odyssey CEO Greg Stemm.
The extreme depth of the shipwreck was
also a big factor. At 15,400 feet, it's 3,000 feet deeper than the Titanic.
Odyssey discovered the wreck about 300 miles off the coast of Ireland in 2011. Under an agreement with the government of the United Kingdom, Odyssey keeps 80 percent and the government gets 20 percent.
At the current price of silver, the haul could be worth more than $65 million.
Odyssey says the newly-recovered ingots are being stored in a secured, undisclosed location in the UK.