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New Read here story of the greatest gold salvage from a sunken vessel in history.
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70 Fathoms Deep!
'SS EGYPT' The Gold Ship revisited- Atlantic Ocean 420ft depth

Continuing their quest to explore the worlds most famous shipwrecks the 'Starfish Enterprise'
deep wreck diving team focus on the treasure ship 'Egypt'. Leigh Bishop was with the team and
brings to the surface the story of one of history's most outstanding salvage feats as well as the
first images of the wreck taken with a 35mm stills camera from a depth of 420ft.

Egypt Navigation bar
Gold Fever-online article | History | 2001 Expedition | 2002 Expedition | Wreck Images | Expedition Images
2001-2002 Teams | Safety Logistics | Gas Menu | Diver magazine article

Tales of shipwrecks laden with hidden treasure, shipments of gold and silver are enough to conjure the imagination of even the casual diver. Technically speaking there is perhaps no lost treasure that remains inaccessible to man for all time, there are however treasures that take vast reserves of courage and ingenuity to recover. It was just so with the gold of the lost wreck 'Egypt'. Browse almost any book
written on treasure and you are sure to
SS Egypt during World War One
SS Egypt decorated in her hospital ship colours during WW1

find a section on the 'Egypt'! On the 19th May 1922 'Egypt' left Tilbury bound for Bombay on what would be her very last voyage. Having made her way west through the English channel she then turned south into the Bay of Biscay on a bearing for Cape St Vincent & Gibraltar. Three days into her journey and 25 miles off of Ushant north west France she encountered dense fog, so thick infact that she almost came to a standstill. Now within a venerable position of a main trading route she had no alternative but to make slow headway whilst sounding her whistle. At 7.00pm she was suddenly rammed by the French cargo steamer 'Seine' whose bows were strengthened to deal with Baltic ice, 'Egypt' heeled over from the impact and sank within 20 minutes.

Sorima team in 1933 with Gold recovered from the Egypt Like thousands of other ships she perhaps would have long since been forgotten even today, that is had she not been carrying about 10-tons of silver and 5-tons of gold bars as well as a large amount of sovereigns! In 1922 a fortune estimated at £1,054,000 today almost 80 years on the equivalent of over $ 56 million dollars! Over £36 million! The wreck now lay at the bottom of the Atlantic at a depth of 420ft, over twice that any diver of the time had ever been to! The underwriters had no alternative other than to consider the 'Egypt's' precious cargo as lost. In August of 1930 using the traditional method of toeing a suspended cable between two vessels over the seabed proved successful in
locating the wreck. An Italian company named Sorima led by a man called Quaglia took up the quest. Although at the very cutting edge of salvage sorima was now faced with their most challenging operation to date. The wreck lie upright on an even keel her strong room where the bullion was stowed in a small narrow chamber 7m long three deck levels down at the bottom of the ship. The first gold was not recovered until June 1932 by the end of the month the operation amassed a pile of ingots and coins. Quaglia reported to Lloyds in London and was given a heroes welcome, the world was intrigued by the feat and newspapers around the globe ran the story.
An artists impression of how the wreck would have looked during the 1930s salvage operation
David Scotts impression of how the wreck would have looked back in 1932.

By 1935 an estimated 95% of the treasure had been recovered. sorimas operation was a story of ultimate success a story still regarded within the marine recovery business as one of the greatest salvage feats of all time. It is now said still unaccounted for amongst the wreck lie 14,929
sovereigns, 17 gold bars and 30 silver ingots. Click here to see one of the recovered sovereigns.

2001 team diver entering the Atlantic  with rebreather and Aquazepp scooter for a dive at 420ft on the SS Egypt
Weather in the Atlantic had opened a window in order for the Starfish team to explore the wreck.
For the 'Starfish Enterprise' a scuba exploration attempt on the wreck at such depth was considered a serious team undertaking. The very success of previous 'Starfish' expeditions lies very much at the center of team effort with its core point being that of safety. With such facts high on the list 'Egypt' 2001 expedition leader Chris Hutchison had plenty to think about. "We would adopt a similar method to those applied to the Britannic dives of 1998 in that a certain amount of the team would hit the wreck at any one time the remaining team members would then carry out safety duties over their colleagues." Exclaimed Chris. In the case of the 'Egypt' a maximum of seven divers would descend on the wreck the remaining team in support of them.
After the initial dives the Starfish team soon established that the wreck infact did not quite lie in a position across the tide but more so NNE by SSW with her bow located at the far north west end of the site. Progress was made good along what can be described as a very intact bow foredeck then without warning the wreck dropped away to seabed level. Her port side hull however remains very much intact and all interior deck levels along its internal structure have broken away again down to seabed level. From the bow the bridge was unclear if there at all, infact past a distance of where it should have been the deck dropped down a level and a short distance the diver met a cargo hold. The holds hatch combings appear intact, as were small oblong brass windows alongside.
A section of cargo hold deep on the shipwreck Egypt
A cargo hold with intact hatch combing and skylight window located close to the seabed at 420ft depth..
Steve Wright on the bridge of Loyal Watcher
Steve Wright and Richard Stevenson on the bridge of the expedition vessel Loyal Watcher maneuvering the ship across the position where Egypt sank in 1922.
2001 Egypt expedition leader Chris Hutchison had chartered Loyal Watcher for the expedition and skipper Steve Wright hooked into the bow section of the wreck at 420ft depth soon after arriving on site. A four day window during June allowed the Starfish team to make the first technical dives to the wreck as well as a comprehensive survey of the wreck to the areas explored. Deep wreck photographer Leigh Bishop was able to bring to the surface the very first images of this famous treasure ship. The entire expedition is documented here on deepimage, by using the above sub menu navigation bar you will be able to learn more about the wrecks history. There are also image galleries of Leigh Bishops photography both above and below the water that capture the Egypt story during 2001 as and when it unfolded.

The observation chamber of the Sorima salvage project aboard the Artiglio

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