Home » Galeón San José: what will be the complex operation in Colombian waters to extract the first treasures from the mythical ship, sunk 300 years ago

Galeón San José: what will be the complex operation in Colombian waters to extract the first treasures from the mythical ship, sunk 300 years ago

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Galeón San José: what will be the complex operation in Colombian waters to extract the first treasures from the mythical ship, sunk 300 years ago

Colombia to recover treasure from sunken galleon after 300 years

A part of the priceless treasure that the galleon San José was carrying when it sank more than 300 years ago will see the light of day for the first time. The Colombian government announced this week that it will soon carry out a “high-level” operation “with innovative technology” in deep waters to investigate and rescue parts of the shipwreck.

The galleon San José was a 40-meter-long Spanish vessel that was shipwrecked in the Battle of Barú in 1708 around the Rosario Islands, an archipelago near the city of Cartagena, Colombia. In 2015, when the Colombian State found the wreck 600 meters deep, it was described as “one of the largest finds of submerged heritage, if not the largest, some say, in the history of humanity.”

Based on historical documents, it is assumed that the galleon was carrying tons of merchandise, gold, silver, and precious stones. The new research project aims to have more certainty and details about what lies in the galleon at a depth of 600 meters.

The operation will use a remotely operated robot of Swedish design and British manufacture to descend to the galleon and recover some pieces among those that are arranged more superficially in the wreck. The pieces will be studied in a laboratory in Cartagena, and the construction of a museum is contemplated in the medium term.

While the Colombian government defends that the value of the galleon should not be counted in monetary terms, an American treasure-hunting company speculates that the treasure could be valued at about US$20 billion. The operation will cost the state about US$4.5 million and involves various public institutions.

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Critics have expressed concerns about the archaeological management plan for the galleon and the extraction of pieces, questioning the need for such actions. The disputes over the ownership of the galleon continue, with international litigation between Colombia and Sea Search Armada, a US company. Spain has also expressed interest in reaching a diplomatic resolution regarding the galleon.

The exploration of the galleon promises to provide answers to scientific research questions about the submerged history of maritime trade between America and Europe in the early 18th century. Despite the controversies and disputes surrounding the galleon, the project aims to preserve and study this historical treasure for future generations.

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