Treasure Hunting Co. Finds WWI Silver Ship

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A Florida deep-sea exploration company with a record of finding sunken treasure has discovered a ship filled with silver 8,000 feet beneath the North Atlantic Ocean.

Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc. announced Monday that it found the remains of the SS Mantola, which sank on Feb. 9, 1917, after being torpedoed by German submarine U-81 during World War I.

The ship was insured to carry silver worth 110,000 British pounds when it sailed in 1917. That value would mean it could hold as much as 600,000 ounces of silver -- or nearly 19 tons -- based on silver prices today.

At current market prices, that much silver would be worth more than $19 million.

Odyssey will retain 80 percent of the value of the silver that's recovered.

The company is preparing a recovery expedition that's planned to start next spring.

The Tampa-based company, which uses remote control underwater vehicles to locate and salvage wrecks, is best known for finding and recovering the Civil War-era shipwreck of the SS Republic on which they recovered more than 51,000 coins and nearly 14,000 artifacts from the 1,700-foot deep site.

The company later became embroiled in a protracted legal fight with Spain over 17 tons of silver and other treasure salvaged from the wreck of a sunken galleon code named "Black Swan" in 2007.

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