What a treasure to find, right?
Underwater explorers have found what is described as the Holy Grail of Shipwrecks, containing a treasure worth more than €14 Billion at the bottom of the Caribbean.
The Shipwrecks sank some 300 years ago and was found by experts using an autonomous robot.
This image shows the cannons of the San José, photographed in November 2015 by the REMUS 6000. Image Credit: REMUS image, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
The shipwreck—the San Jose—was an 18th-century Spanish galleon that had sunk off the coast of Colombia.
Juan Manuel Santos, the president of Colombia, said that the discovery of the San Jose shipwreck was “one of the greatest – if not the biggest, as some say – discoveries of submerged patrimony in the history of mankind.”
According to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), the shipwreck was only found after an autonomous submarine explored the ocean floor.
Curiously, the same autonomous submarine, the REM-us 6000 also helped find the wreckage of Air France 447 in 2011.
Map showing the route taken by Spanish ships.
The robot used sonar to find the sunken Spanish Galleon around 600 meters below the surface.
Due to the importance and $$$ involving the discovery, the exact location of the shipwreck remains a secret, due to legal dispute as to WHO owns the massive treasure from the Spanish Galleon.
The San Jose is believed to have sunk on June 8, 1705, with 600 people on board.
Tea Cups scattered across the ocean floor. Image Credit: REMUS image, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
The treasure was transporting a massive treasure of gold, silver, and emeralds when it was sunk by British ships in the War of Spanish Succession.
And instead of worrying about how to best preserve the shipwreck and its contents, several nations, as well as a number of privately owned corporations, are fighting over who owns the treasure.
Rob Munier, WHOI’s vice president for marine facilities and operations said the company was “holding this under wraps out of respect for the Colombian government.”
This image was taken in 2015 and was only distributed on May 21, 2018, by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The photograph shows ceramic jars and other items belonging to the Spanish galleon San José believed to have sunk 300 years ago off the coast of Colombia. Image Credit: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
The situation required UNESCO as well as the United Nations Cultural Agency to intervene. Both organizations called on Colombia asking not to exploit the shipwreck, whose exact location remains a well-guarded secret.
“The wreck was partially sediment-covered, but with the camera images from the lower altitude missions, we were able to see new details in the wreckage, and the resolution was good enough to make out the decorative carving on the cannons,” said WHOI engineer and expedition leader Mike Purcell.
“It was a pretty strong feeling of gratification to finally find it,’ said Mr. Munier, who was not at the site but learned in a phone call from Mr. Purcell. It was a great moment.”
REMU, the autonomous robot who was credited with the discovery approached the shipwreck of the San Jose as close as 9 meters, allowing the submersible to take a number of images of the wreck, as well as a number of unique engravings of San Jose’s canons.
New information about the shipwreck was only revealed recently after the Colombian government, as well as the agencies involved, gave permission.
Featured Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons / Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
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