“holy grail of shipwrecks,” was discovered in 2015.
The government of Colombia announced on Thursday their intention to retrieve artifacts from the 1708 sinking of the galleon San Jose, which is estimated to hold a valuable cargo worth billions of dollars. The shipwreck, also known as the “holy grail of shipwrecks,” was found in 2015 and is 315 years old.
The ultimate shipwreck treasure.
The subject has sparked controversy due to its status as a valuable artifact from both an archaeological and economic perspective.
The Culture Minister, Juan David Correa, announced that the initial trials will take place sometime between April and May, contingent upon the ocean’s conditions in the Caribbean. He assured that it will be a research-based expedition.
According to Correa, this is not a valuable treasure but an archaeological site. After meeting with President Gustavo Petro, he stated that this presents a chance for our country to lead in the field of underwater archaeological research.
Correa stated that the substance retrieved from the sunken vessel, most likely through the use of robotic or submerged vehicles, would be brought onto a naval vessel for examination. Depending on the findings, a subsequent attempt may be planned.
Legal and diplomatic conflicts
Over 300 years ago, the San Jose galleon was defeated and sunk by British ships during a battle.
The majority of the 600-member crew on the San Jose perished in the wreck.
“It is a sensitive issue as interfering with war graves is not allowed,” explained Justin Leidwanger, a Stanford University archaeologist specializing in the study of ancient shipwrecks.
In 2015, there were discussions about the possibility of retrieving treasure from the ocean floor without disturbing any war graves. It is uncertain if this can be achieved.
However, it has been entangled in legal and diplomatic conflicts.
In 2018, the Colombian government decided not to proceed with their plans to dig up the wreck. This was due to disagreements with a private company that has asserted salvage rights from a previous agreement made in the 1980s with the Colombian government.
In 2018, the cultural agency of the United Nations urged Colombia to refrain from profiting off the wreck.
A UNESCO experts’ body protecting underwater cultural heritage sent a letter to Colombia expressing concern that recovering the treasure for sale rather than for its historical value “would cause the irretrievable loss of significant heritage.”
The letter stated that permitting the commercial use of Colombia’s cultural heritage is in violation of top scientific norms and international ethical values, as outlined in the UNESCO Underwater Cultural Heritage Convention.
Colombia has yet to ratify the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, which would hold it accountable to global regulations and oblige it to disclose its intentions for the sunken vessel to UNESCO.
The location of the shipwreck, which lies off the coast of Colombia’s Baru peninsula in the Caribbean Sea, was revealed three years ago by a team of international experts and autonomous underwater vehicles. The precise coordinates are classified information.
A legal dispute in the United States, Colombia, and Spain has arisen regarding the ownership of the sunken treasure found on the ship.
The video displays the treasure that was on board the San Jose.
According to reports, the San Jose was a three-deck ship measuring 150 feet in length and 45 feet in width. It was equipped with 64 guns.
Researchers in Colombia have discovered well-preserved bronze cannons, as well as ceramic and porcelain vases and personal weapons.
According to the researchers, the features of the cannons provide clear evidence that the shipwreck is indeed that of the San Jose.
Last year, Colombia said that a remotely operated vehicle reached 900 meters below the surface of the ocean, showing
fresh photos of the debris.
The footage displays the most impressive glimpse of the riches that were on the San Jose ship, such as gold bars and coins, cannons made in Seville in 1655, and a complete Chinese dinner set.
According to Reuters, the remotely operated vehicle found two additional shipwrecks in the vicinity. These include a schooner believed to date back approximately 200 years.