A vast fortune in silver bullion, worth approximately £150 million (about $203.48 million), was salvaged by a US-based company from aboard a British cargo ship that was lost to a German submarine attack during World War II, the Daily Express reports.
The vessel in question, the SS Gairsoppa, was returning to Britain from India in 1941, carrying a cargo of silver ingots bound for the Royal Mint, pig iron and tea; initially attached to convoy SL-64, Gairsoppa split off from it after exhausting the majority of its fuel, and was sunk by a German U-boat while trying to reach Galway, Ireland.
The wreckage of the Gairsoppa was finally located in 2011, and a company called Odyssey Marine Exploration, headquartered in Tampa, Florida, eventually announced that they had managed to recover "about 99 percent of the insured silver from the ship", the newspaper notes.
"We have accomplished a world-record recovery at a depth never achieved before," said Odyssey's chief executive Greg Stemm. "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."
He also remarked that the recovery process was fraught with complications: for example, "the remaining insured silver was stored in a small compartment that was very difficult to access."
The newspaper also points out that sources such as Lloyd’s record of War Losses hint at the possible presence of additional "uninsured government-owned silver" aboard the ship at the time of its sinking, but none of these alleged riches have been recovered so far.