A vast haul of silver that has lain on the North Atlantic seabed since the ship carrying it was torpedoed by a German First World War submarine has been found by explorers searching for another wreck.
The steam ship Mantola – less than a year old – was travelling from London to Calcutta with 20 tonnes of silver among the cargo when she was sunk 143 miles off the southern Irish coast on February 8, 1917 with the loss of seven lives.
The wreck was discovered at 2,500 metres (8,200ft) by Odyssey Marine Exploration, which last month announced the discovery of the Gairsoppa, a Second World War cargo ship containing silver estimated to be worth more than £150m.
The Mantola was carrying silver valued at about £12m and, as with the Gairsoppa treasure, 20 per cent of the net value will go to the UK Government.
The wrecks of the 8,246-tonne Mantola and the Gairsoppa were found close to each other on the seabed – about 100 miles apart.
Odyssey was commissioned to find the first and more valuable wreck by the Department for Transport after the salvage industry expressed interest in finding the Gairsoppa.
The DfT said: "The interest really lies with the commercial salvagers. It's not an active programme on our part to re-balance the economy by finding sunken silver. It's not us thinking, 'We're short of a bob or two. Let's see what we have lying on the bottom of the ocean'."
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