The World War II cargo steamer SS Gairsoppa has been discovered 300 miles south west of Ireland in what is thought to be the biggest haul of precious metals at sea

A deep-ocean salvage company has discovered the long-lost shipwreck of a World War II vessel and has been handsomely rewarded for its efforts.

Odyssey Marine Exploration was contracted by the UK government in 2010 to search for the SS Gairsoppa, a British cargo steamer that had been missing since it was torpedoed by a German U-Boat in February 1941 in the north Atlantic.

There is an estimated cargo of 240-tonnes of silver on board, worth in the region of £150m and Odyssey will now put plans in place to recover the ship.

Under the agreement, Odyssey will retain 80% of the cargo on board, in recognition of the risk, expense and responsibility it has undertaken in its search.

The ship was discovered at a depth of 4700 metres about 300 miles south west of Ireland.

Image: Torpedo hole on the hull of the SS Gairsoppa, taken by Odyssey Marine Exploration.