In November of 1942, the SS City Cargo sailed from Bombay, India, for the United Kingdom. Aboard the ship were soldiers and supplies for the English war effort. Among the cargo was a chest full of silver coins worth $50 million today. But the ship never made it to its destination. A torpedo launched from a German U-boat struck down the SS City Cargo. The ship sank in such great depths that it was thought to be lost forever. That is, until recently.
In 2011, the U.K. government hired Deep Ocean Search (DOS) underwater salvagers to search for the wreckage. Initially, the team located an unnatural object on the sea floor. But the team, led by John Kingsford, was unable to pinpoint an exact location. Not surprising. The search area where they were looking in the South Atlantic is bigger than the Seattle metropolitan area. For weeks, DOS searched the ocean floor, but to no avail.
“We weren’t convinced at first,” said Kingsford. “But you have to give your team their head if they say they’ve found something, so we looked.”
And it’s a good thing Kingsford trusted his team. Because the unnatural object they’d originally picked up on turned out to be the SS City Cargo. Once they found the ship’s exact location, the real work began. The ship was at a depth of 17,000 feet, which is nearly 5,000 feet deeper than the Titanic. So the ship took years to salvage. But the salvage efforts yielded an amazing haul of treasure. The team reported recovering a large percentage of the silver coins in the chest, as well as part of the torpedo that sunk the ship!
“Many items were seen on and around the wreck, including the end section of the second torpedo, where the contra-rotating propellers could clearly be seen,” a DOS representative stated. “Apart from the silver cargo, this was the only item recovered from the site.”
The coins, which technically belong to the U.K. Treasury, were melted down. Once melted, the silver was divvied up between the treasury and the salvage team. Though the silver coins were actually salvaged back in 2013, DOS just recently released the story.
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