A treasure of billions of dollars, submerged in the waters of the Caribbean Sea, was found by an underwater rover.
It has been described as the “Holy Grail” of shipwrecks for containing one of the most valuable treasures in history.
Called San Jose, the Spanish galleon of the eighteenth century was found three years ago off the coast of Colombia.
Now new details have emerged about the discovery of the wreck, which contains some USD $ 17,000 million in treasures.
According to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), San Jose was located by an autonomous underwater robot.
The underwater vehicle REMUS 6000, which also helped find the remnants of the Air France 447 in 2011, used a sonar to find San Jose more than 600 meters deep in the waters of the Caribbean Sea.
The institution said it kept its participation in the discovery secret out of respect for the Colombian government.
The exact location of the shipwreck remains a secret due to a legal dispute over who owns the wealth of the treasures on board.
The galleon of 62 guns and three masts sank on June 8, 1708, with 600 people on board and a treasure of gold, silver and emeralds during a battle with British ships in the War of Spanish Succession.
The San Jose transported the booty back to Spain to help finance its war of succession against Great Britain.
The ship was found submerged off the coast of Barú, in what is now Colombia, near the Rosario Islands.
It was discovered in 2015 by a team of international experts, the Colombian Navy and the Archaeological Institute of the country.
“We have been keeping this a secret out of respect for the Colombian government, “ said Rob Munier, vice president of marine installations and operations at WHOI.
The treasure has been subject to legal battles between several nations and private companies.
Several weeks ago, UNESCO, the cultural agency of the United Nations, asked Colombia not to commercially exploit the wreck, whose exact location remains a state secret.
As for the treasure, it remains at the bottom of the sea – for now.
The WHOI, based in Massachusetts, was invited to join the search due to its recognized experience in deepwater exploration.
The institute’s autonomous underwater vehicle, REMUS 6000, helped find the remnants of the Air France 447 flight in 2011, which crashed in 2009 several hundred kilometres off the coast of Brazil.
In November 2015, the REMUS 6000 took some lateral sonar images that allowed San José to be found.
The vehicle descended and approached 9 meters of the shipwreck to take several photographs, including some of the distinctive engravings of dolphins in the San Jose canyons, a key piece of visual evidence.
These new details about the discovery of San Jose were revealed Monday with the permission of the agencies involved in the search, including the Colombian government.
“The remains of the boat were partially covered with sediment, but with the images of the underwater cameras, we could see new details in the rubble and the resolution was good enough to distinguish the decorative carving of the guns,” said the engineer of the WHOI and leader of the expedition Mike Purcell.
In 2015, sonar images revealed bronze cannon made specifically for the ship, weapons, ceramics and other artifacts.
The president of Colombia, Santos, said that he was “one of the greatest – if not the greatest, as some say – discoveries of heritage submerged in the history of mankind.”
San Jose was the subject of a legal dispute between Colombia and Sea Search Armada (SSA), a US-based salvage company.
The SSA said in 1981 that it had located the area where the ship sank.
The company and the government agreed to split the findings, but the government later said that the entire treasure belonged to Colombia, a point of view that was backed by a US court. in 2011.
Few government spokespeople will be able to talk more about the galleon until more investigations are completed, Santos said.
It is not yet clear which section of the ship’s body is almost complete and if it would be carried to the mainland.
Source: El Sol