UK partners with Odyssey Marine to find SS Garisoppa

Posted on February 13, 2010


I try to follow the goings on of Odyssey Marine Exploration, and have reported on their activities here and here.  The Black Swan (Mercedes) case hasn’t gone ideally for them, namely because the Court hasn’t bought their “sovereign ship on a commercial mission” argument.

With the tightening of salvage law in favor of sovereign nations, it’s becoming more economical for salvagers to partner up with national governments before searching for a ship, rather than waiting until they find it and then arguing in court.

And so, Odyssey and the UK have entered into an agreement whereby Odyssey will spend Summer 2010 searching for the SS Gairsoppa, a British steam merchant ship that served during World War II.  On her return from India, she detoured to refuel in Ireland, but was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat.  Only one crew member survived.

The SS Gairsoppa was carrying a cargo of silver ingots, pig iron and tea.  It is estimated to lay at a depth of 6,500 feet below the ocean surface, about 300 miles off the coast of Ireland.  The Times Online reports, “It is believed that Odyssey will get the majority of the booty, originally valued at £600,000 but estimated to be worth £70m at today’s prices,” although no source is cited.

Read Salvagers hunt for £70m silver hoard at thisiscornwall.

Read the Wikipedia entry on the SS Gairsoppa.

Hat tip to LCCHP.