Silver-filled wreck found in Irish seas by salvage team
Published 12/10/2011 | 05:00
A SECOND treasure-laden shipwreck has been discovered in the Atlantic by the same company that last month confirmed the discovery of the biggest ever haul of sunken silver.
Odyssey Marine Exploration, who have a salvage contract with the UK government, said that its vessel, the MV Odyssey Explorer, had located the wreck of the British merchant ship, the SS Mantola, which was sunk by a German U-Boat on February 9th 1917, about 150 miles southwest of Fastnet.
The wreck is about 100 miles from where the SS Gairsoppa was located by the company last month. The Mantola was insured to carry 19 tons of silver worth £110,000 when it sailed in 1917, a cargo believed to be worth more than €13.5m.
The SS Gairsoppa, which was also sunk by a German submarine, this time during World War Two, is believed to contain up to €172 million of silver.
Seven Indian crewmen lost their lives when the SS Mantola went down, but most of the crew survived and were brought ashore in Bantry.
The wreck lies in Irish territorial waters but is not covered by the National Monuments Act because it is less than 100 years old. Under its contract with the UK government, Odyssey Marine Exploration will keep 80pc of the value of what it recovers, with the remaining 20pc going to the British state.
Greg Stemm, Odyssey's CEO said: "This find shows the value of our research team and our extensive database of shipwrecks, which allow us to build backup projects that can be added to our surveys in the event of a quick find.
"The discovery and verification of the Mantola marks the second verification of a valuable deep-ocean site and contract with the UK this year."
Odyssey said it plans to carry out the salvage operations from both wrecks at the same time. The company says it is continuing to survey the waters off Ireland's southwest coast where several other valuable wrecks are believed to be located.
Meanwhile, the first detailed seabed images of the Guinness merchant vessel, W.M. Barkley, sunk by a German torpedo 94 years ago today, off the Dublin coast, have been released.
The national research vessel, the RV Celtic Voyager, identified the wreck in May last year while carrying out a mapping survey for the INFOMAR (Integrated Mapping For the Sustainable Development of Ireland's Marine Resource) Programme.
Earlier this year the research vessel surveyed the wreck in detail for higher resolution imagery showing deck features and complex sand wave structures around the ship.