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Shipwreck Laden with Billions in Treasure Discovered off Coast of Colombia

Photo Courtesy of mnn.com

Photo Courtesy of mnn.com

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The wreck of the San José, a long-lost treasure galleon of the Spanish Navy, has finally been located off the coast of Colombia on November 27, 2015, stated mnn.com.

“We’ve been holding this under wraps out of respect for the Colombian government,” Rob Munier, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s (WHOI) vice president for marine facilities and operations told the AP.

The Spanish treasure ship, the San José, was a 64-gun, three-masted galleon built in 1698 and tasked with shipping vast quantities of gold, silver, emeralds and jewelry from the South American colonies to Spain. On June 8, 1708, the vessel was sailing with the treasure fleet when it was ambushed by a British squadron off Colombia. During the battle that ensued, the San José’s powder magazines detonated, destroying the ship and taking an estimated $17 billion in previous metals and gems to the bottom of the sea, according to mnn.com.

“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,” WHOI engineer and expedition leader Mike Purcell said in a statement. “MAC’s (Maritime Archaeology Consultants) lead marine archaeologist, Roger Dooley, interpreted the images and confirmed that the San José had finally been found.”

The treasure has been the subject of legal battles between several nations as well as private companies. Several weeks ago, UNESCO, the United Nations cultural agency, called on Colombia not to exploit the wreck, so the exact location remains a state secret stated wbur.org.

As for the treasure, it still remains at the bottom of the sea.

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Shipwreck Laden with Billions in Treasure Discovered off Coast of Colombia