IMAGES of an 18th-century shipwreck have been released by the Colombian army.
On June 6, Colombian President Iván Duque released unseen footage of the San Jose shipwreck at a government press conference.
The photographs show scenes of a wrecked Spanish galleon, as well as some of the $17 billion worth of treasure.
Some of the valuables seen in the new footage include Chinese ceramics, gold coins, cannons, and swords.
“The idea is to recover it and to have sustainable financing mechanisms for future extractions,” Duque said in the press conference.
“In this way, we protect the treasure, the patrimony of the San Jose galleon.”
The footage was captured via remote-operated equipment that is able to dive 3,280 feet deep into the ocean.
While monitoring the site, authorities noted that they discovered two other nearby shipwrecks from the 1800s.
The San Jose wreck
San Jose was sunk in 1708 by British navy ships during the War of the Spanish Succession.
The shipwreck, along with the treasure, was uncovered by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in 2015.
While the exact location of the wreck has not been released, we know it is somewhere off the Colombian coast south of Cartagena, around 2,000 feet below sea level.
Researchers say the treasure found at the site comprises roughly 200 tons (180 metric tons) of gold, silver, and precious gemstones.
The race is on…
Everyone wants their hands on this treasure, though the Colombian government has called first dibs on the valuables.
In February, the nation filed a legal claim for the treasure found aboard the San Jose.
Colombian officials are also enforcing that researchers reveal details about everything they uncover in the shipwreck.
However, Colombia isn’t the only nation trying to score the treasure.
Spain, citing international conventions, says that they are the rightful owners of the treasure due to San José being a Spanish ship of state when it was sunk.
Furthermore, a Bolivian Indigenous group, the Qhara Qhara nation, has also claimed the riches, noting that the Spanish made their ancestors mine most of it.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has been also been vocal about the shipwreck, mainly to advise Colombia not to exploit the treasure for sales as that “would cause the irretrievable loss of significant heritage,” according to the Associated Press.
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