January 23, 2013 6:00am PT by Kimberly Nordyke
Discovery Channel Goes on Deep-Sea Treasure Quest in New Series (Exclusive)
Discovery Channel is giving viewers an inside look at what is being touted as one of the "greatest deep-sea treasure quests of all time" in a new series called Silver Rush.
The three-part series, narrated by Mike Rowe (Dirty Jobs), follows the deep-sea recovery team Odyssey Marine Exploration as it recovered a record-breaking 48 tons of silver bullion from the World War II shipwreck SS Gairsoppa -- making it the deepest and heaviest cargo recovery in history -- this past summer.
The Odyssey crew first hit the jackpot five years ago with the discovery of the "Black Swan," a Colonial-era site with 17 tons of silver and gold worth hundreds of millions of dollars. However, after a five-year legal battle, Odyssey was forced to hand over the treasure to Spain, one of the nations that claimed the treasure.
Devastated, OME founder/CEO Greg Stemm and his crew set a goal of locating and excavating three shipwrecks worth as much as $1 billion in one season. One of them was the SS Gairsoppa, a freighter that was torpedoed in 1941 off the coast of Ireland that was said to have silver bars potentially worth $200 million. However, the challenge was that the shipwreck lies deeper than the Titanic at nearly three miles below the surface of the North Atlantic.
The other two shipwrecks they targeted were the SS Mantola, an ocean liner sunk in 1917 in 8,000 feet of water off the Irish coast, with a silver cargo worth an estimated $20 million; and HMS Victory, the flagship of the royal navy located in the English Channel, which was lost in 1744 and may have carried $1 billion worth of gold.
Silver Rush will take viewers on board Odyssey’s flagship, the Odyssey Explorer, as the crew aims to complete the entire recovery effort in just 90 days, before the rough storms roll in.
Silver Rush, produced for Discovery Channel for JWM Productions, premieres at 8-11 p.m. Feb. 24, with all three episodes airing back-to-back.