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$235 mil in silver found in WW2 shipwreck -

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An American salvage firm has found $235 million of silver in the hold of a British cargo ship sunk
off Ireland during World War II.


ALI MOORE, PRESENTER: The treasure trove of silver worth $235 million has been discovered at the
bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

An American salvage firm found the silver in the wreck of a British cargo ship, which sank off
Ireland during World War II.

It's largely a case of finders-keepers, with the company retaining 80 per cent of the treasure.

Europe correspondent Philip Williams reports.

PHILIP WILLIAMS, REPORTER: It looks in perfect condition, but the SS Gairsoppa is a long way down -
nearly 5km deep in the North Atlantic, settled on the ocean floor still upright.

The UK cargo ship was sunk by a German U-boat in 1941 as it tried to make for Galway Harbour in
Ireland after running short of fuel on the run from Britain to India. Only one of the crew of 85
survived the sinking.

A US-based exploration company, Odyssey Marine, won the contract for salvage rights for what's
expected to be the biggest haul of precious metal ever found at sea. The company gets to keep 80
per cent of the 200 tonnes of silver.

ANDREW CRAIG, ODYSSEY MARINE EXPLORATION: We're extremely excited about this find. I mean, it's
massive for us in so many different ways. The deepest ever, it's potentially the richest ever, and
the technological challenges that we have ahead of us are something that we can really sink our
teeth into.

PHILIP WILLIAMS: Luckily the cargo bays appear to be open. The 130 metre long ship was found a
couple of months ago, but the company had to be sure they had the right vessel before going public.
And while finding the wreck may have been hard enough, the real challenge lies ahead.

FRASER STURT, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHAMPTON: Do we consider that 148 million to be a good enough reason
alone to disturb this site? And that's why you're always looking for broader questions to be asked
to justify that degree of intrusion.

PHILIP WILLIAMS: While it is possible some of the crew went down with the ship, marine
archaeologists say it's unlikely any human remains still exist. What is clear is the outline of a
doomed ship more than 400km from the safety of Galway Harbour, its treasure about to see the light
and air for the first time in 70 years.