An estimated value of $50 million has been given for a sunken treasure containing silver coins, which was found in a cargo ship wreck by marine salvage experts. Back in 1942 the ship was sunken by a German submarine. The vessel was transporting cash from India to London as part of Britain`s finance involvement in World War II.
The SS City of Cairo was recovered 5,150m under the sea level, 400 miles (700km) south of the South Atlantic island of St. Helena. The salvage put a world record for the Deep Ocean Search, based in Mauritius which was in charge for the operation.
Representatives of Deep Ocean Search said on their web page:
"The ship was broken in two and buried deep in the sea-floor silt. Parts of the ship had meters of mud heaped upon it. Operating at this depth caused serious technical difficulties which were new to us."
The City of Cairo was carrying 100 tons cargo of silver coins owned by British Treasury and 296 passengers. In 1942 the vessel was on its way from Mumbai to Britain, passing through Cape Town and Recife, Brazil.
In the South Atlantic, a German U-boat spotted SS City of Cairo and sunk the ship with two torpedoes.
Only 192 from the passengers on board survived the accident. They were moved in life boats. Passing ships close to the location picked them up and transferred to Cape Town, South Africa or St. Helena.
The wreck search started by Deep Ocean Search in 2011 and finally was found on a deep-water slope in the foothills of the mid-Atlantic Ridge.
Deep Ocean Search in co-operation with the British Department of Transport managed to recover “several tens of tons” of coins and lifted successfully the propeller from one of the torpedoes. All the salvage operations ended in 2013 but were kept in secret until this year when it was announced.
The treasure was returned to the Treasury of Britain, as its original owner and there was a part of it given to Deep Ocean under international salvage rules.