The San Jose galleon was owned by the Spanish crown when it was sunk by the British navy near Cartagena in 1708. Only 11 of the 600 members of the crew survived. Experts believe it contains at least 200 tons of gold, silver,and emeralds.The Colombian Navy has released new footage of the San José, a Spanish galleon that sank just north of the country more than 300 years ago. The footage, which was shot using an underwater vehicle, also revealed the existence of two other historical wrecks in the water nearby.
The new discovery was confirmed by Colombian President Iván Duque during a televised address on Monday, according to Reuters. The footage was shot by a remotely operated vehicle that was sent more than 3,000 feet down into the water just north of the country’s Caribbean coast.
The President said, “Thanks to the technological equipment and the Colombian navy’s work, we managed to capture images with a level of precision that’s never been seen before.”
These missions, carried out by the navy under the supervision of the culture ministry, found the galleon untouched by “human intervention.”
When that happens, though, Colombia will face a challenge from Spain and an indigenous group in Bolivia to determine who keeps the bounty.
There is a row over the ownership of the treasure in the wreckage.
While Spain insists that the ship and treasures are a “ship of state” as it belonged to the Spanish navy when it was sunk, Colombia considers wrecks found in its territorial waters to be part of its cultural heritage. While Bolivia’s Qhara Qhara nation says it should get the treasures as the Spanish forced the community’s people to mine the precious metals.
New videos show the wreckage covered in algae and shellfish, as well as the remains of the frame of the hull.
Maritime experts consider the wreck of the San Jose to be the “holy grail” of shipwrecks, as the ship was carrying one of the largest amounts of valuables ever to have been lost at sea.
The images show the best-yet view of the treasure that includes gold ingots and coins, muddy cannons made in Seville in 1655 and an intact Chinese dinner service. Porcelain crockery, pottery and glass bottles can also be seen.
Archaeologists are working to find out the origin of the plates based on inscriptions.
Colombian navy monitoring a sunken Spanish ship laden with treasure has also discovered two other historical shipwrecks nearby.
Colombian authorities have announced their intention to create a museum of shipwrecks that would be “a source of pride for Colombia, the Caribbean and the world.”
Recovering the wreck presents a technological and scientific challenge due to its depth.