The SS Mantola was a passenger steamer of the British-India Steam Navigation Firm. Launched greater than 100 years in the past by the Barclay Curle Firm, the ship sailed for lower than a 12 months earlier than it was sunk by a German U-boat whereas carrying a big amount of silver bullion. The British Ministry of Warfare Transport paid a Warfare Danger Insurance coverage Declare for £110,000 for the silver that was on board when the vessel hit the seabed.
However, extremely, a century on, its wreck was found by Odyssey Marine Exploration off the south-west coast of Eire whereas trying to find one other ship – the SS Gairsoppa – within the space.
The Division for Transport awarded a salvage contract to the corporate to start restoration of the cargo in return for Odyssey Marine retaining 80 p.c of the worth recovered – with that whole estimated to be round £12million.
A DfT spokesperson stated in 2011: “The contract for the salvage of the SS Mantola was awarded to Odyssey Marine Exploration after they found the wreck throughout their seek for the SS Gairsoppa.
“Whereas we don’t touch upon the specifics of such industrial preparations, the speed of return on this contract is larger than common, with the salvage firm taking all of the dangers and upfront prices.”
The Gairsoppa was on its approach again to Britain from India when it ran low on gasoline in stormy climate, and tried to divert to Galway harbour, however it was noticed and sunk by the German submarine.
It carried an estimated seven million ounces of silver, stated to be price about £150million – the biggest haul of treasured metallic ever found at sea.
A 12 months later, the identical crew discovered the ship with 1,203 bars of silver, weighing 1.four million ounces recovered from its wreck.
Odyssey Marine Exploration stated the haul represented about 43 p.c of the Gairsoppa’s cargo of treasured metallic.
The silver was transported to a safe location within the UK.
Insurance coverage on the silver, valued at £325,000 in 1941, was made by the Authorities to the proprietor, permitting the state to assert any recovered bullion.
Odyssey stated insurance coverage firm sources imagine that silver cargo price £600,000, in 1941 values, could have been misplaced that 12 months.
Odyssey chief govt Gregg Stemm stated the Gairsoppa silver restoration, in worldwide waters, was a posh operation.
He said: “Our capability to conduct precision cuts and efficiently full the surgical removing of bullion from safe areas on the ship demonstrates our capabilities to undertake sophisticated duties within the very deep ocean.
“This expertise can be relevant to different fashionable shipwreck initiatives at the moment being scheduled in addition to our deep ocean mineral exploration actions.”
However, Odyssey’s bid for the treasure of SS Mantola is much more sophisticated.
Their settlement over the treasure lapsed in September 2015 and the Authorities now not makes such offers.
Odyssey staked its declare for possession in a 2017 lawsuit, however no additional particulars have been launched since.