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Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc. Message Board

  • donodoya1 donodoya1 Jul 26, 2013 10:19 AM Flag

    Can India claim silver from SS Gairsoppa?

    "A part of the ill-fated ship’s silver consignment belonged to the then British India government, and there are strong legal grounds for India’s claim on the bullion"

    "More than seven decades after it was sunk by a #$%$ U-boat off the coast of the British Isles, SS Gairsoppa has resurfaced — not literally, but to stir up a debate over the ownership of silver bullion it was carrying.

    On Tuesday, two years after the illfated ship was located three miles under the sea, a private company, Odyssey Marine Exploration, claimed to have lifted 110 tonnes of silver so far from the wreckage.

    It had won a UK government contract to salvage the cargo and says it is the largest-ever recovery of precious metal from a shipwreck. Odyssey will get to keep 80 per cent of the silver it hauls out of the ship.

    But all of the ship’s cargo was from India, and there is serious speculation over whether India can stake its claim to a part of the bullion. The ship was carrying seven million ounces of silver ingots (equal to 198 tonnes, or nearly two lakh kg).

    Of this, 110 tonnes was private cargo and since the UK ministry of war transport had hired the ship at that time, it paid an insurance of £600,000 towards its loss.

    However, the rest of the silver – 88 tonnes – belonged to the British India government. A press note by Odyssey says it has completed recovery of “99 per cent” of 110 tonnes of silver for which insurance was paid by the wartime UK government.

    Supreme Court advocate KV Dhananjay said, “The property that was not insured, once found, would vest in the government. Now, which government would it be? At the time of the ship’s sinking, the government of India was under the control of the British parliament.

    However, the British parliament gave up all control over India by passing the Indian Independence Act, 1947. Effective the midnight of August 14, 1947, it relinquished all control over the Dominion of India.

    Continued Go to IHUB to link the full article

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    • I would venture to say OMEX is ok and that the government of England would be the one to pay India out of their 20%

    • Thanks, Dono. Looks like you stirred up the pumpers.

    • Of course a claim could be made. Anyone can file a lawsuit. The question is if it would be a valid claim. If the answer is "yes" then OMEX can pay them with proceeds paid to it by Peru when it successfully recovers the Black Swan haul from Spain. OMEX is in a position to win with either precedent.

      • 3 Replies to rockmh
      • Agreed rock.

        This is a tempest in a teapot, and part of the predictable process of "Hey that treasure YOU found is OURS."

        Nothing new.

        India WAS the British government in 1944 when the G was sunk. India did not become India until 1947. If India wants to fight this, they'll have to take it up with the British government. By the time any ruling was made, that silver will have long since passed through the smelter. And even in the extremely unlikely case that India ever won such a judgement years down the road, the UK government, as the issuer of the contract, would be on the hook, not Odyssey.

        One should also note that the driver behind this is an Indian lawyer. Big surprise, huh?

        This is NOT Spain and the Black Swan.

        BTW, dononuttin, being the drooling thick skull neanderthal that he is, in addition to failing to critically read the article itself before posting it (more like he just threw #$%$ against the wall to see if it would stick) fails to mention the source of the article: "Pune Mirror." Yeah. New York Times it is NOT. Note also that the article admittedly bases itself on nothing more than "serious speculation" and only quotes a lawyer who says India "should" sue. There are no quotes from Indian government officials stating their intention to sue for the silver nor any of British officials taking it serious.

        Nonsense, in other words.

      • The British government ended up owning the insured silver since they paid off the private owners under the war powers act. The uninsured silver hasn't been recovered (that we know of, wink wink - kidding!), and that would be the only silver that India would even have the slightest chance of laying claim to. I guess they could always lease the SBW and go after it for themselves (if it is still there - still kidding!).

      • Looks like a scare card to me,but then I thought the same about spain right after they found the Black swan......We did get a contract with the UK so I don't "think" they have a chance.

    • You can also search google for the title if you don't want to go to the hub " Can India claim silver from SS Gairsoppa?"

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