Expedition to 300-year-old shipwreck that may contain Spanish treasure of gold and emeralds worth $20 billion

by MMC
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The 62-gun three-masted ship sank in 1708, the victim of an English squadron while heading towards Cartagena. In the ship’s hold were accumulated riches from Spain’s colonies in South America, including 116 steel chests filled with emeralds and millions of gold and silver coins.

The government has committed to investing around $4.5 million this year alone in archaeological exploration of the historic relic.

The first phase of scientific research will focus on studying the deep waters surrounding the wreck, using cutting-edge technology to gather vital information.

Oceanographer and Navy Rear Admiral Hermann Len Rincn told reporters the company would use submerged robotic technology, a navy ship and cameras meticulously tracking movements, according to AP.

The wreck lies at a depth of 600 meters (about 2,000 feet).

Colombia discovered San Jos in 2015, sparking a series of legal and diplomatic disputes and keeping its exact location secret.

The legal battle over rightful ownership of the ship has spread to the United States, Colombia and Spain.

Sea Search Armada, a group of American investors, claims $10 billion, or 50% of what they estimate the galleon’s treasure is worth, Bloomberg reported.

The group claims to have discovered the sunken sailboat in 1982.

The Colombian government said it had started arbitration proceedings with the company.

The Colombian expedition is expected to start in the spring depending on weather conditions.

Colombian officials insisted the expedition was for patrimonial reasons, not a monetary exploit.

Carlos Reina Martnez, an archaeologist and underwater cultural heritage expert, said the expedition aimed to reveal what life and death were like for the 600 people aboard the galleon before it sank, according to AP.

Juan David Correa, Colombia’s Minister of Culture, said: “History is the treasure.”

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