Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc., a pioneer in the field of deep-ocean shipwreck exploration, has begun its search for the SS Gairsoppa aboard the Russian research vessel the RV Yuzhmorgeologiya.
"The team, tools and technology are in place for the Gairsoppa project and the ship has left port to head directly to the search area. The technology that the Russian research institute has brought to the project is perfect for this expedition. Odyssey's Senior Project Manager Andrew Craig, who has contributed to all our major shipwreck finds beginning with the SS Republic, is currently leading the operation. We have a great research file on this shipwreck and we're hopeful that we can complete the search successfully within the next 60 days," said Greg Stemm, Odyssey CEO. "It's an exciting season for Odyssey. In addition to the Gairsoppa search operations aboard the Yuzhmorgeologiya, the Odyssey Explorer has a full schedule working on shipwrecks and the Dorado Discovery is mid-way through another productive seafloor massive sulfide deposit survey in the South Pacific."
The Gairsoppa was torpedoed by a German U-Boat in February 1941 while enlisted in the service of the United Kingdom (UK) Ministry of War Transport. Contemporary research and official documents indicate that the ship was carrying as much as £ 600,000 (1941 value) in silver when it sank, which would equal approximately 7,000,000 ounces of the precious metal. The UK Department for Transport awarded Odyssey, through a competitive bid, the exclusive salvage contract for the cargo of the SS Gairsoppa in 2010. Under the salvage contract, Odyssey will pay the UK Government 20% of the value of the cargo. Timing of the recovery operation will depend on the physical disposition of the shipwreck and weather.