british British India Steam Navigation Co. Ltd. - BISN SS Gairsoppa (+1941)
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  Details  
 
general
nationality british
purpose transport
type cargo ship
subtype/class WWI B-class standard cargo ship (br.)
WWI B-class standard cargo ship (br.) Balzac SS (+1941)
propulsion steam
date built 1919
is nickname no
status
live live
details
weight (tons) 5237  grt
dimensions 125.7 x 15.9 x 8.7 m
material steel
engine triple expansion engine, single shaft, 1 screw
power 517  n.h.p.
speed 10.5  knots
yard no. 894
about the loss
cause lost torpedo
date lost 16/02/1941  [dd/mm/yyyy]
casualties  max.88rank: 545
about people
builder
Palmer's Shipbuilding & Iron Co. Ltd., Newcastle-Upon-Tyne
engine by
Palmer's Shipbuilding & Iron Co. Ltd., Newcastle-Upon-Tyne
last owner
[1]British India Steam Navigation Co. Ltd. - BISN, London
SS Gairsoppa (+1941)
period 1919 ~ 1941
prev. owners
[2]TSC - The Shipping Controller (WWI), London
War Roebuck
period 1919 ~ 1919
captain Hyland, Gerald
no. of crew 32
about the wreck
depth (m.) 4200 max. / -- min. (m)
orientation
protected
war grave
references
references
  uboat.net
updates
entered by Vleggeert Nico
entered 23/06/2008
last update Allen Tony
last update 12/10/2012
 
  Position  
 
[1] Vleggeert Nico04/04/2013
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  The Wreck today  
 

Lettens Jan04/04/2013

UK hydro member
ref. used 
 UK Hydrographic Office


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News
 Lettens Jan   26/01/2010

UK Government Awards Salvage Contract for Gairsoppa Silver

Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc., has been awarded the exclusive salvage contract for the cargo of the SS Gairsoppa by the United Kingdom Government Department for Transport. The contract was awarded after a competitive bid process and is for two years, which commences immediately. The SS Gairsoppa was a British cargo steamer enlisted in the service of the United Kingdom for the Ministry of War Transport during World War II. It was torpedoed by a German U-Boat in February 1941 in the North Atlantic while reportedly carrying a significant cargo of silver.

read moreAvec43   27/09/2011

GAIRSOPPA - Un trésor-sous marin retrouvé

Odyssey Marine Exploration a annoncé aujourd'hui avoir pu confirmer la localisation et l'identification d'un cargo britannique coulé en 1941 par les Allemands contenant plus de 240 tonnes de lingots d'argent, que la société américaine va désormais s'atteler à récupérer. Ce fabuleux butin, estimé aujourd'hui à environ 150 millions d'euros et qu'Odyssey espère pouvoir remonter à partir du printemps, constitue le plus important trésor sous-marin jamais retrouvé, souligne Odyssey. Des chercheurs ont pu confirmer grâce à un sous-marin téléguidé la localisation et l'identification du SS Gairsoppa, qui gît par 4.700 mètres de fond dans l'océan Atlantique au large de l'Irlande, a indiqué Odyssey.

read moreAvec43   19/07/2012

Wreck Gairsoppa: 48 t of silver collected

Odyssey Marine Expedition has yet collected 1203 bars of silver (about 48 t or 20% of total) from the SS Gairsoppa sunk by german submarine in 1941 off Irland, the end of operation being expected in september. The product is being stocked in London and 20% of the value is to return to british government From www.lefigaro.fr, 19.07.2012

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  Note  
 
Lettens Jan05/04/2012PIG IRON is the intermediate product of smelting iron ore, having a very high carbon content, making it very brittle and not useful.

The shape of the traditional molds was a branching structure with many individual ingots at right angles. This configuration is similar in appearance to a litter of piglets suckling on a sow, hence the name pig iron.
 
 
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 copyright: Unknown - onbekend - inconnu copyright: Unknown - onbekend - inconnu copyright: Library of Contemporary History, Stuttgart. copyright: UK Hydrographic Office 
 
 copyright: Unknown - onbekend - inconnu copyright: Unknown - onbekend - inconnu copyright: Unknown - onbekend - inconnu copyright: Unknown - onbekend - inconnu 
 
 copyright: Chipchase Nick copyright: Unknown - onbekend - inconnu copyright: Unknown - onbekend - inconnu  
 
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  Hydrographic Service UK  
   
  History  
 
Allen Tony23/03/2010Gairsoppa SS was a British Cargo Steamer of 5,237 tons built by Palmers, Hebburn, England for MOWT as the WAR ROEBUCK SS but completed as the GAIRSOPPA SS for the British India SN Co. On the 17th February 1917 she was torpedoed by German submarine U-101 and sunk.

The SS Gairsoppa was a British cargo steamship that began her career in 1919 under the service of the British India Steam Navigation Company. She engaged in commercial shipping activity in the waters off the Far East, Australia and East Africa. By January 1941, the SS Gairsoppa was enlisted in the service of the UK Ministry of War Transport. ...

read more
ref. used 
[1] Odyssey Marine Exploration
[2]  uboat.net
Allen Tony21/07/2012While the SS Gairsoppa may not be worth its weight in gold, the 412-foot British shipwreck is worth a whole lot in silver -- approximately $38 million of it. According to Discovery News, treasure-hunting company Odyssey Marine Exploration has salvaged 48 tons of silver treasure from the sunken cargo ship sitting 15,420 feet deep in the North Atlantic. The treasure hunters hauled in a whopping 1,203 bars of silver (a total of 1.4 million ounces) in what could be the deepest, largest precious metal recovery ever....

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ref. used 
 Huffington Post
Lettens Jan27/09/2011The lifeboat carrying the survivors travelled 13 days from the wreck of the GAIRSOPPA off S. Ireland and came ashore in a battered condition at CAETHILLIAN Cove at THE LIZARD which is the most southerly point of England.

Only one survivor, 2nd. Officer Robert Ayres, was to survive this final assault although 4 persons had been alive at the approach to the cove. 3 war evacuees billetted on Lizard alerted the coastguard and that is where my research lies as I am writing a book about evacuees and have interviewed one of the rescuers. Hope this helps your excellent research.

Posted on behalf of Margaret Hutcherson
Allen Tony27/09/2011Gairsoppa SS found in the Atlantic and said to be carrying 200 tons of silver ignots worth 150million UK pounds.
ref. used 
 BBC News
Lettens Jan04/04/2013UK hydro member
ref. used 
 UK Hydrographic Office


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About Owners
 
British India Steam Navigation Co. Ltd. - BISN, London

Registered in 1856 as the Calcutta & Burmah Steam Navigation Co. and in 1862 became British India Steam Navigation Co. Ltd. In 1886 B.I. took control of the Australian S.N. Co. and their coastal services out of Brisbane. This became Australasian United S.N. Co. Apcar & Co., Calcutta with their fleet of five ships was taken over in 1912 and the five ships and the Australian company of Archibald Currie was absorbed in 1913. B.I. and P & O Steam Navigation Co. merged in 1914 but each kept their separate identities until 1971 when all ships came under the parent P&O company.

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About Builders
 Palmer's Shipbuilding & Iron Co. Ltd., Newcastle-Upon-Tyne
Original founders: Brothers Charles Mark and George Palmer from Jarrow, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. - - - Charles Palmer established a yard at Jarrow in 1851 and built its first iron collier 'The John Bowes' in the following year. It was the first ever sea-going screw collier and was built for shipping coal to London.
Palmers were also famed for building the first rolled armour plates for warships in 1854.


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  History  
 
Allen Tony23/03/2010Gairsoppa SS was a British Cargo Steamer of 5,237 tons built by Palmers, Hebburn, England for MOWT as the WAR ROEBUCK SS but completed as the GAIRSOPPA SS for the British India SN Co. On the 17th February 1917 she was torpedoed by German submarine U-101 and sunk.

The SS Gairsoppa was a British cargo steamship that began her career in 1919 under the service of the British India Steam Navigation Company. She engaged in commercial shipping activity in the waters off the Far East, Australia and East Africa. By January 1941, the SS Gairsoppa was enlisted in the service of the UK Ministry of War Transport.

She started her final voyage from Calcutta, India in December 1940 loaded with nearly 7,000 tons of diverse medium and high-value cargo, including 2600 tons pig iron, 1765 tons of tea, 2369 tons of general cargo, and a 600,000 UK Sterling silver ignots (3 million ounces).

Departing without a military escort, the Gairsoppa and convoy SL-64 sailed the dangerous waters of the Atlantic, intending to rendezvous with convoy HG-63, which was escorted by two warships. As the convoy reached the northern latitudes, the Gairsoppa, loaded down with a heavy cargo, was forced to further reduce speed due to high winds and ocean swells.

As the weather worsened on February 14, 1941, the Gairsoppa, running low on coal and with insufficient fuel to keep up with the convoy, was forced to sail independently and to head for Galway in western Ireland.

On February 17, 1941, German Boat Commander Ernst Mengersen submerged his 66.5 meter-long U-boat 101, and torpedoed the Gairsoppa causing her to sink.

Of the 32 crew members who boarded lifeboats after the attack, all perished except for one survivor who, 13 days later, reached shore at the Lizard lighthouse, Cornwall, England.
ref. used 
[1] Odyssey Marine Exploration
[2]  uboat.net

Allen Tony21/07/2012While the SS Gairsoppa may not be worth its weight in gold, the 412-foot British shipwreck is worth a whole lot in silver -- approximately $38 million of it. According to Discovery News, treasure-hunting company Odyssey Marine Exploration has salvaged 48 tons of silver treasure from the sunken cargo ship sitting 15,420 feet deep in the North Atlantic. The treasure hunters hauled in a whopping 1,203 bars of silver (a total of 1.4 million ounces) in what could be the deepest, largest precious metal recovery ever.

Based on current precious metal prices, Bloomberg notes, the haul is valued at $38 million, though that's just a fraction of the sunken treasure; Odyssey says this load represents only about 20 percent of all the bullion residing in the Gairsoppa. That's a whole lot of bling. "With the shipwreck lying approximately three miles below the surface of the North Atlantic, this was a complex operation,” Odyssey chief executive officer Greg Stemm said in a statement. “Our success on the Gairsoppa marks the beginning of a new paradigm for Odyssey in which we expect modern shipwreck projects will complement our archaeological shipwreck excavations.” Torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat, the Gairsoppa sat 300 miles off the coast of Ireland since World War II, the Associated Press reports.

But the merchant ship's contents were privately insured by the War Risk insurance program, and once the owners were paid, the British government took possession of the Gairsoppa and its cargo. For its efforts, Odyssey will get to keep 80 percent of the recovered silver, minus expenses, per a contract with the U.K. The marine exploration company hopes to have the remaining cargo recovered within 90 days.
ref. used 
 Huffington Post
 
 
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