Colombia announced it has found a 300-year-old Spanish galleon ship along with $17 billion worth of treasures. The discovery, however, also revived the decade-long dispute over the ownership of gold, silver and gems that come with the wreckage.
President Juan Manuel Santos announced via Twitter that they found the galleon known as the San Jose. He described the finding as an historic milestone for the country’s underwater cultural patrimony. The wreckage was found exactly 307 years after sinking. The president also tweeted a video of the search team that found the ancient Spanish galleon.
Mr. Santos refused to divulge the exact location of the Spanish galleon San Jose. He said that all matters involving the discovery will remain a state secret that he would personally protect, Daily News reported. No humans were able to reach the exact location of the wreckage, but Mr. Santos said his country’s autonomous underwater vehicles were significant in the process. The Colombian president showed press photos of bronze cannons that prove the ancient ship’s identity.
The discovery revived an international dispute involving the Sea Search Armada or SSA and Government of Colombia that dates back to 1981. During this time a group of U.S. investors behind the SSA claimed to have found the site of the San Jose. The group accused the Colombia government of illegally confiscating proofs of its claim. The investors demanded for the treasures to be divided between them and the Colombian government. The court ruled otherwise.
In a statement obtained by CNN from SSA managing director Jack Harbeston, the group maintained that the Colombian government is lying that it the court ruled against them. Harbeston upheld that the ruling grant them the right to take part in the treasures.
“It would now appear that the GOC had no intention of good faith implementation of the Colombia Supreme Court ruling by settling with SSA. Their intent seems to be to preempt and make moot SSA’s right to visit its property — while flouting its own laws. The GOC continues in its expropriation of property belonging to U.S citizens in direct violation of its trade agreement with the U.S.” the statement reads. “It’s the same mentality as the conquistadors,” Harbeston told CNN.