The deepest and largest precious metal treasure has been recovered from a 412 foot steel-hulled British merchant vessel the S.S. Gairsoppa that sank in the North Atlantic in February 1941.

Forty-eight tons of silver was pulled from three miles below the surface by deep-sea explorers from Odyssey Marine Exploration. The haul recovered was 1,203 bars of silver, totaling 1.4 million ounces.

To date about 43% of the total treasure and the cache has been moved to a secure location in the United Kingdom, which contracted the project under the Department of Transport. It has been reported that the contract gives Odyssey 80% of the net value of the recovered goods, after expenses.

The Gairsoppa was torpedoed by a German U-boat during World War II. The vessel was insured by the U.K. government under the War Risk Insurance program they had paid out the owners for the loss of the silver and, therefore, became owners of the lost cargo.

The Odyssey started the search for the sunken ship last summer and confirmed its location by September 2011. No human remains have been found but if they do they “will be treated with the utmost respect and the U.K. Department for Transport will be immediately notified.”

A Discovery Channel special will soon air so that viewers will have a chance to follow the pursuit of the lost treasure.

Click on Discovery News to see the video  on how Odyssey finds and recovers sunken treasure.

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