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The silver believed to be on the SS Gairsoppa may be worth as much as $190 million.
The silver believed to be on the SS Gairsoppa may be worth as much as $190 million.Odyssey Marine Exploration via bloomberg news

NEW YORK — Forty-eight tons of silver bullion that spent more than 70 years at the bottom of the Atlantic have been hauled to the surface, the company that recovered it says. And more will be on its way soon.

The silver was recovered from the SS Gairsoppa, which was carrying the riches to England from India in 1941 when a Nazi torpedo struck. The ship went down about 300 miles southwest of Ireland in waters 2.9 miles deep.

On Wednesday, Odyssey Marine Exploration, of Tampa, Fla., said it had succeeded in removing about 43 percent of the insured silver aboard the rusting hulk and 20 percent of the total silver that its research indicates might be on board.

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Chief executive Greg Stemm said it was the heaviest and deepest cargo of precious metal ever lifted from a shipwreck. The haul, he said, demonstrates that marine technologies have improved to the point that no sunken ship is too deep and no cargo too large for retrieval.

Odyssey invested its own money in finding the ship and will split the profits, the company getting 80 percent of the silver’s value and the British government 20 percent.

At Wednesday’s market value, the 1.4 million troy ounces of silver recovered so far would fetch about $38 million. Odyssey says the Gairsoppa held up to 240 tons, which could fetch up to $190 million.

New York Times