‘Holy Grail of shipwrecks’ to be exhumed off Colombia with $31 billion sunken treasure

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The Latin American country of Colombia is hoping to speed up its mission to recover a three-century-old sunken treasure worth as much as $31 billion, as ownership of the fortune is in legal limbo amid an ongoing lawsuit.

President Gustavo Petro has ordered his government to excavate the so-called “Holy Grail of shipwrecks” – the Spanish galleon San José – from the bottom of the Caribbean Sea as quickly as possible, the culture minister told Bloomberg last week.

Mr. Petro wants to bring the three-masted, 62-gun ship to the surface before his term ends in 2026 and has called for the formation of a public-private partnership to accomplish this, Culture Minister Juan David Correa said. New York Post.

“This is one of the priorities for the Petro government,” he said. “The president has told us to pick up the pace.”

But mystery surrounds the ownership of the vast trove of gold, silver and emeralds that a lawsuit estimates is worth somewhere between $6.15 billion and $30.75 billion.

The crux of the issue seems to revolve around who supposedly found it.

The San José galleon – with 600 crew on board – sank about 600 meters (2,000 feet) on June 8, 1708 during a battle against the British in the War of the Spanish Succession.

It remained a legend for many years because its exact location was unknown.

Then in 1981, the American company Glocca Morra claimed that it had discovered the lost treasure and handed over the coordinates to Colombia with the promise that it would receive half the fortune if it were recovered.

Years later, in 2015, Colombia’s then-president Juan Manuel Santos said the country’s navy had found the San José wreck at a different location on the seabed.

Colombia has never released the coordinates of the ship’s final resting place, but Glocca Morra – now called the Sea Search Armada – believes the country in 2015 found part of the same debris field it first discovered 34 years earlier.

The company is suing the Colombian government for half of the treasure, or $15.38 billion, according to its estimate, under the U.S.-Colombia trade facilitation deal, according to Bloomberg.

Mr Correa, meanwhile, told the channel that government investigators had visited the coordinates shared by Sea Search Armada and “concluded that there is no shipwreck there.”

This story appeared in the New York Post and is reprinted with permission.

Read related topics:Pauline Hanson

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