Bloomberg News

Silver-Laden WWI Shipwreck Found by Underwater Salvager Odyssey

October 10, 2011

Oct. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc., which last month located a sunken World War II cargo ship laden with silver, said it discovered a shipwreck from World War I that may also contain a consignment of the precious metal.

The SS Mantola, a British vessel sunk by a German submarine on Feb. 9, 1917, was located about 100 miles (161 kilometers) from where the SS Gairsoppa was found last month, Tampa, Florida-based Odyssey said today in a statement. The Mantola, sitting 2,500 meters (8,200 feet) below the surface of the North Atlantic, holds about 600,000 ounces of silver, the company said, citing an insurance claim paid out by the British government.

Odyssey plans to start salvage operations at both ships in 2012. Costs for the Mantola search were “low” because it was contingent on an early finish for the exploration of the Gairsoppa, the company said. The Gairsoppa holds an estimated 7 million ounces of silver, an amount that would be the largest known precious-metal cargo ever recovered from the sea, Odyssey said Sept. 26.

Under salvage contracts with the U.K., Odyssey retains 80 percent of the net silver value recovered. At current prices, the Gairsoppa’s silver is worth about $224 million and Mantola’s is worth about $19 million.

Odyssey rose 2.3 percent to $2.28 at 10:12 a.m. New York time after earlier rising as much as 7.2 percent. Silver for immediate delivery in London climbed 2.9 percent to $32.05 an ounce.

--Editors: Simon Casey, Tina Davis

To contact the reporter on this story: Jack Kaskey in Houston at jkaskey@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Casey at scasey4@bloomberg.net


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