Colombian President Juan Manual Santos hailed on Saturday the discovery of a Spanish galleon that went down off the coast of the South American nation more than 300 years ago with what might be the world's largest sunken treasure.
"Great news: We have found Galleon San Jose!".
The San Jose was carrying gold, silver, gems and jewelry collected in the South American colonies to be shipped to Spain's king to help finance his war of succession against the British when it was sunk in June 1708.
The company and the government agreed to split any proceeds, but the government later said all treasure would belong to Colombia, a view that was backed by a United States court in 2011. SSA said in 1981 it had located the area in which the ship sank.
Santos said many details about the discovery need to remain confidential and that the presidency was the only institution authorized to provide information about the find.
Shortly afterward, however, the government cast doubts on Sea Search Armada's claim, saying an independent team of investigators couldn't find evidence of a shipwreck at the coordinates provided by the company.
Colombia's government has announced it will build a museum to showcase artefacts found in the wreckage of a Spanish galleon near the Caribbean port of Cartagena.
A gold chalice found on board a Spanish galleon sunk around the same time as the San Jose.
The value of the San Jose's treasure, believed to include gold, silver, emeralds, and other precious cargo - has been estimated at more than US$10 billion, with a range of US$4-$17 billion often invoked.
The multibillion-dollar ship, called the San Jose, has been at a center of a decades-long search that also involved foreign legal battles. The Colombian government says it discovered the ship wreck on November 27. Colombia's Supreme Court has ordered the ship to be recovered before the worldwide dispute over the fortune can be settled.
ICANH director Ernesto Montenegro said identification of the ship was made possible by "the presence of bronze cannons cast especially for the galleon", whose photos were displayed Saturday and which, for the expert, "leave no doubt about the identity of this archaeological site".
Courtesy: clean herald