Sunken ship discovered with estimated $20bn worth of treasure on board

The Holy Grail of shipwrecks is said to be the "richest vessel ever lost at sea".
  • It’s said to be the “richest vessel ever lost at sea”
  • The Spanish galleon, San Jose, sank more than 300 years ago but is set to be lifted from the floor of the Caribbean Sea
  • It has an estimated $20 billion worth of treasure aboard

Published on Nov 7, 2023 at 7:11PM (UTC+4)

Last updated on Nov 10, 2023 at 12:57PM (UTC+4)

Edited by Adam Gray
Sunken ship discovered with estimated $20b worth of treasure on board

A sunken ship said to be the “Holy Grail of shipwrecks” will be lifted from the floor of the Caribbean Sea with $20 billion of treasure aboard.

Recovered on the orders of the Colombian government, the San Jose galleon is currently the subject of an ownership battle.

It’s attracted multiple ownership claims and is just one of recent, major historical discoveries.

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These include a claim from Spain who want UNESCO to oversee the heritage site, the BBC reports. 

There’s also a claim from Bolivia’s indigenous Qhara Qhara nation, stating that the Spanish extracted the wealth from its people, CBS reports.

However, the Colombian president, Gustavo Petro, said the recovery of the shipwreck is a “priority” before his term in office ends in 2026.

“The president has told us to pick up the pace,” culture minister, Juan David Correa, told Bloomberg.

It will be raised to the surface, if possible, through a public-private partnership.

The Spanish galleon was sunk by British Royal Navy vessels on June 8, 1708.

This was during the War of the Spanish Succession.

Its exact whereabouts remained unknown for over 300 years.

The three-mast, 64-gun vessel had 600 crew members, only 11 of whom survived.

It’s believed to have been carrying 200 tons of treasure – this includes gold ingots and coins, silver and emeralds.

It also includes intact Chinese porcelain, glass bottles, pottery and cannons.

And while its treasures differ from modern superyacht riches, it’s estimated to be worth between $4 billion and $20 billion.

That’s according to an ongoing lawsuit.

A US salvage company, Glocca Morra, first detected the wreck in 1981, giving the coordinates to the Columbian government.

However, it was a team of divers from the Colombian navy who found the exact whereabouts of the Spanish sunken ship in 2015.

It was the near the port of Cartagena off the country’s Caribbean coast.

According to Bloomberg, Glocca Morra are sueing the Colombian government for $10 billion – that’s half the treasure aboard the sunken ship.

The legal action is under the US-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement.

Colombia claims the coordinates given to them by the company, now called Sea Search Armada, didn’t help them find the shipwreck.

The Columbian government haven’t revealed the sunken ship’s correct coordinates.

As well as its treasures, maritime experts consider the vessel to be the “Holy Grail” due to its historical significance.

It potentially holds secrets as to the political, social and economic climate during the period of the early 1700s.

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