Some secret tales about the Italian company SORIMA


Tales and secrets about the successful Italian Salvage company S.O.R.I.M.A
 
By Pascal Kainic

 


In the 1950’s, merous shipwrecks with their precious cargoes from the two World Wars were still lying untouched in all parts of the world.

From South Africa to Canada and Europe to New Zealand thousands of tons of tin, copper, brass, zinc, lead ingots and other ferrous and non-ferrous metals, as well as precious ones such as gold or silver were to be salvaged from torpedoed, mined, bombed or simply lost vessels, by one of he most prosperous salvage company of all times: The Italian Genovese company SORIMA (Societa Ricuperi Marittimi)

Of course, underwater archaeology was not the aim, but commercial recovery of valuable metal cargoes by any means. For that purpose, the company developed special salvage tools such as crane and grab capable of lifting heavy loads at a time.

Ships were also designed especially for the work; and the Italians were very successful for many years in their effort. They could work more than 100 meters deep. That was an extraordinary exploit at the time. For example, SORIMA had a special contract with the French authorities.

As a matter of fact, most of the War wrecks cargoes were insured by Governments, and a typical agreement with the French administration would be 85 to 90% for the entrepreneur, according to the depth, risks and difficulties working in the open sea.

SORIMA had its first salvage contract in 1930, but soon another company from Southampton, England, RISDON-BEAZLEY, entered the competition and became, as well, very successful until the 1970’s.

In 1952, the Rostro, one of the SORIMA’s salvage vessel recovered 900 tons of copper and 200 tons of chrome ore in the French territorial waters, from a ship torpedoed in 1917, but a dispute arose with the English company as the cargo belonged to the British Government… In French waters !

The convention of 14th of June, 1952, between SORIMA and the French authorities listed 60 wrecks containing ferrous and non-ferrous metal cargoes belonging to the French Government and lost during WWI, representing 20.000 tons of non-ferrous metals (copper, brass and lead) and 60.000 tons of steel...
 

01 Dipton salvaged in 1951
02 Kasenga salvaged in 1939
03 Aztec not yet exploited in 1952
04 Merton-Hall not yet exploited in 1952
05 Vav not yet exploited in 1952
06 St Chamond not yet exploited in 1952
07 Boyton not yet exploited in 1952  
08 Princess Royal not yet exploited in 1952    
09 Edernian not yet exploited in 1952
10 Lucia not yet exploited in 1952
11 Lorna not yet exploited in 1952     
12 Tasmania not yet exploited in 1952
13 Cairnhill     not yet exploited in 1952
14 Lewis-Luckenback not yet exploited in 1952
15 Westgate    not yet exploited in 1952
16 Hermann Frash not yet exploited in 1952
17 Clan Matheson not yet exploited in 1952
18 Tippecanoe  not yet exploited in 1952
19 Gladys not yet exploited in 1952 
20 Edouard Winsdow not yet exploited in 1952  
21 Isabelle not yet exploited in 1952
22 Marmion not yet exploited in 1952
23 Evelyn Hinkley not yet exploited in 1952
24 Askelad not yet exploited in 1952
25 Californian not yet exploited in 1952
26 Penistone  not yet exploited in 1952
27 Ohio not yet exploited in 1952
28 Taxandrier not yet exploited in 1952
29 President Lincoln not yet exploited in 1952
30 Anglesea not yet exploited in 1952
31 George Eaton not yet exploited in 1952
32 Port Dalhousie not yet exploited in 1952
33 Cap Finisterre salvage in 1938
34 Gorizia not yet exploited in 1952
35 Pontet Canet     not yet exploited in 1952
36 Oosterdjik not yet exploited in 1952
37 Dwinsk not yet exploited in 1952   
38 Meuse not yet exploited in 1952
39 Afghan Prince not yet exploited in 1952   
40 Mallin not yet exploited in 1952
41 Kansan Salvaged in 1929
42 Japanese Prince not yet exploited in 1952
43 Kalibia not yet exploited in 1952
44 Allendale not yet exploited in 1952
45 Bagdale not yet exploited in 1952
46 La Epoca not yet exploited in 1952
47 Mar Adriatico salvaged
48 Corinto     salvaged in 1952
49 Noviembre salvaged in 1931 – 1933
50 Nydal salvaged in 1935
51 Anglopatagonian salvaged in 1934
52 Strathdene not yet exploited in 1952
53 King Bleddyn in 2004, wreck was located. Saved ?
54 Strathay not yet found in 1952
55 Toftwood salvaged in 1951 – 1952
56 Belgier salvaged in 1936
57 Chorley salvaged in 1939 – 1952
58 Lincolnhire

salvaged in 1937

59 Wentworth

salvaged in 1950

60 North Cambria

not yet found in 1952

 

For those interested in non-ferrous metal cargoes, you certainly have some homework to do, as this short list provides you with genuine information...

 
Good luck in your quest...!
 

Comments (2)

1. Glademir Coelho 25/04/2010

Consigo localizar metais nao ferrosos a grandes distencias com o uso do pandulo. Procuro equipe de pesquisa.

2. Terry McCann (link) 10/10/2009

Hi There!
Great site and good fun to browse through. Do you have any names of non -ferrous ships or older rivetted or wooden ships, in Southern Africa, (around South Africa, Mozambique, Mauritius, Namibia, Seychelles)?
I'd love to do some research in the evenings.
Regards
Terry (TMC) McCann
Professional Dive Supervisor

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