Historical records indicate the Gairsoppa was carrying up to seven million ounces of silver and the Mantola was carrying approximately 600,000 ounces of silver when each sank.
Odyssey discovered both shipwrecks in Q3 2011 and conducted a series of reconnaissance dives to both sites in March and April 2012.
Both the Gairsoppa and Mantola projects are being conducted under contract with the UK Department for Transport.
Under these contracts, which follow standard commercial practices, Odyssey will retain 80% of the net salved value of the cargoes after recovery of expenses.
Both merchant ships were torpedoed by German submarines, the Gairsoppa during WWII and theMantola during WWI. At that time, the UK government insured privately owned cargo under their War Risk Insurance program.
Odyssey has chartered Swire Seabed's 291-foot Seabed Worker for this recovery operation. The Seabed Worker is equipped with advanced deep-ocean capabilities, including the specialized tools necessary to salvage modern steel wrecks, such as redundant deep ROV systems and a 100-ton active heave compensated crane.
Odyssey has also acquired advanced specialty tooling for the project that will provide exceptional flexibility in accessing the bullion.
"Modern steel wrecks such as Gairsoppa and Mantola require an advanced set of tools capable of surgically cutting through steel decks and removing bullion.
After stringent review of available capabilities, we believe Seabed Worker is perfect for these projects. The ship has the ability to carry up to 300 tons of cargo below her decks.
With the potential of over 240 tons of silver that may be brought up from both sites, we're confident that we've brought together the right team, the tools and transport features necessary to make this a secure and successful operation," said Mark Gordon, Odyssey COO & President.