Attempts to salvage the German war ship "Admiral Graf Spee", which sank off the coast of Uruguay on December 13, 1939 after it was hit by British battle ships, came to naught on Tuesday due to stormy weather conditions. Specialists tried in vain for 14 hours to lift parts of the shipwreck from the muddy ground of the Rio de la Pata with a waterborne crane. They were watched by numerous onlookers from the nearby coastal resort of Montevideo. The expensive salvage operation, which is said to cost millions, is financed by private investors from the U.S. and Europe. The 186-meter-long armored ship is to be painstakingly retrieved within three years and rebuilt. But now questions are being raised over whether the operation can succeed. "It is frustrating that we probably won’t be able to continue with this historic undertaking," Evangelio Izquierdo, captain of one of the towboats involved in the operation, told news agency AP.