WWII Treasure Ship Found – Telegraph
- “COMMANDER’S COMMENTS” – This is another example of succesful treasure location and this is the ORIGINAL STORY as is appeared – with live link at the bottom of this post.
British shipwreck with a fortune in silver on board discovered in Atlantic.
The wreck of a British cargo ship containing silver worth £155 million, sunk by a German U-boat during the Second World War, has been discovered on the Atlantic sea bed. On February 17, 1941, a single torpedo sank the SS Gairsoppa, killing all 85 crewmen except one. Expert underwater archaeologists will attempt to salvage the treasure, handing 20 per cent of its value to the British Government. The SS Gairsoppa set sail from India in December 1940 carrying a consignment of 240 tons of silver, iron and tea.
- “COMMANDER’S COMMENTS”- 240 tons of silver, iron and tea. Better stated – 1 metric tonne = 32150.746 Troy ounces, and PUBLISHED REPORTS put 210 tons of the 240 tons total as being in silver. Well that’s 6,766,256 ounces. Today sliver closed at $30.14 cents (and it lost 33% today) makes this potential silver load worth an estimated $231,000,000 US
It was headed for Liverpool but was forced to break away from its military convoy off the coast of Ireland as weather conditions deteriorated and it began to run out of fuel. As the merchant steamship tried to make it to Galway it was attacked by the German submarine U101, 300 miles southwest of the Irish harbour. On February 17, 1941, a single torpedo sank the ill-fated vessel, killing all 85 crewmen except one.Of 32 survivors who managed to clamber onto lifeboats, Second Officer Richard Ayres was the only one who, 13 days later, made it to the Cornish coast alive. He was awarded an MBE for his attempts to rescue his fellow sailors and lived until 1992.
- “COMMANDER’S COMMENTS” -This date struck me hard. It’s both my Mothers and Sisters Birthday. My Grandmother (and thus my mother) were one of only 14 German Women originally allowed into the United States during the end of WWII. My Grandfather commanded US troops in Berlin and Frankfurt when the US Forces took over control of Germany. Interesting note, in past wars there was a common understanding “between men of the sea” and that was, that the attacking vessel (in this case a submarine) once they knew they had mortally wounded the enemy ship, would stop and render aid and support of rescue to make sure there were as many survivors as possible. This was specifically common amoung Submarine Commanders. If you want to know more, read about the Submarine Commander’s of WWII who came from Italy.
The wreck of the 412ft-long Gairsoppa, owned by the British Indian Steam Navigation Company, was discovered by Odyssey Marine Exploration, an American underwater archaeology and salvage firm, this month. The Department of Transport had awarded the Florida-based treasure hunters a contract to conduct the search, allowing the company to retain 80 per cent of the profits of any silver salvaged. Greg Stemm, chief executive of Odyssey, said: “We were fortunate to find the shipwreck sitting upright, with the holds open and easily accessible. “This should enable to us to unload cargo through the hatches, as would happen with a ship alongside a cargo terminal.” Odyssey’s tethered robot took three and a half hours to descend 2.9 miles to the seabed. There, it found a gaping hole where the torpedo had struck 70 years ago.
- “COMMANDER’S COMMENTS” – Odyssey Marine is one of the most shinging examples of how Underwater Treasure Recovery can operate efficient and resourceful in a highly politically charged arena of salvage. Greg Stemm is a fine individual and an shining example of a leader in this Industry.
- This type of recovery, know as a wet recovery has many dangerous considerations. Here are a few to consider:
- surface to 200 feet is considered conventional divers and scuba divers using ordinary air.
- 200 feet to 700 feet divers must use a mixture of oxygen. helium and some nitrogen.
- 1000 feet to 1500 feet divers now must use exotic gases which include hydrogen and must be EXACT MIXTURES or they can be lethal.
- at 2500 feet divers need the “spam in a can” suits, think bulky astronaut style suits.
- BUT THIS WORK will be 15,000 feet down, thus special submersibles and IF something goes wrong, all the pilots and operatprs here is a faint click and then WOOSH, they are instantly LIQUIFIED!
The company said it had confirmed the shipwreck’s identity from evidence including the number of holds, the anchor type, the scupper locations and red-and-black hull colors. Although none of the precious metal has yet been found, the shiny tin linings of the tea chests were initially mistaken for silver bars, according to the New York Times. The Odyssey team is expected to begin the “recovery” stage of the operation when the weather improves in spring. Mr Stemm said: “While some people might wonder about the potential complexity of salvage at this depth, we have already conducted a thorough analysis of the best tools and techniques to conduct this operation and are confident that the salvage will be conducted efficiently and on a timely basis.
- “COMMANDER’S COMMENTS” – Only FOUR possible options: (1) US Navy help, (2) Help from France, (3) The Japanese and their specialized equipment, or (4) Re-equiping and updating the old USSR equipment and ships. Tough recovery, but can be done. Basically like opening a can underwater and getting inside. No, there will be no remains left at this depth, they turn to dust rather rapidly. So those who perished are not geing to be found amoung the contents left down there.
“Hundreds of modern cargo ships like this have been salvaged since the mid-20th century, some at depths of thousands of metres. “We were fortunate to find the shipwreck sitting upright, with the holds open and easily accessible. This should enable us to unload cargo through the hatches as would happen with a floating ship alongside a cargo terminal.” Neil Cunningham Dobson, Odyssey’s principal marine archaeologist, added: “By analyzing the known configuration and research about the Gairsoppa and her final voyage and painstakingly exploring the shipwreck site to record each element and item, our team of experts was able to positively identify the site as the Gairsoppa. “Even though records indicate that the lifeboats were launched before the ship sank, sadly most of her crew did not survive the long journey to shore. By finding this shipwreck, and telling the story of its loss, we pay tribute to the brave merchant sailors who lost their lives.” The precise value of the ship’s treasure is unclear because the wartime government did not disclose the true nature of its transportation records.
But Odyssey discovered that it had paid out an insurance claim on silver amounting to around 120 tons owned by private parties and it believes the government’s hidden share would be about the same. The Government will be hoping that the search does not prove controversial.
- “COMMANDER’S COMMENTS” – The best two things about this discovery is (1) the ship is upright and they will know EXACTLY where to go in. If the ship was on it’s side or lodged up in a canyon or other geological feature, the recovery would be many many times more costly and time consuming. (2) The claim is easy since the losses were paid out long ago by the Insurance Companies to the origianl owners. (But there are always those who want their share and HATE those that find treasure and gain millions. BTW, this operation will get off easy if the recovery cost less than $55,000,000 to conduct.
A federal appeals court in Florida this month upheld a ruling that Odyssey must hand over an estimated £250 million worth of gold and silver coins to the Spanish Government after a four-year legal battle in which it was accused of plundering Spain’s national heritage. The coins had been recovered from a Spanish frigate laden with bullion from the Americas that was sunk by the British off the coast of Portugal in October 1804.
- “COMMANDER’S COMMENTS” – I understand the courts ruling as far as Spains rights, but the Spanish firgate was NOT really a military ship, so the binding law is being stretched here. I wish Odyssey the best, anf they tried to get the Spanish involved. But, the Spanish sat back and let Odyssey do the work and then asserted a claim. This is one ruling I hope gets overturned and settled to the benefit of Odyssey. Best of luck guys!