Legendary 300-year-old shipwreck dubbed ‘Holy Grail’ with treasure horde of ‘incalculable wealth’ to be raided by robot

Legendary 300-year-old shipwreck dubbed ‘Holy Grail’ with treasure horde of ‘incalculable wealth’ to be raided by robot

THE LEGENDARY shipwreck that sunk just off the coast of Colombia is set to be raided by a money-grabbing robot.

The tragic San Jose Galleon had been filled to the brim with 200 tons of gold, silver, and emeralds – now worth at least $20 billion – when it was shot down by the British three centuries ago.

Samuel ScottA painting of the legendary ship before it sunk 300 years ago[/caption]

PRESIDENCIA DE COLOMBIAA robot will now work at a depth of 600 meters to remove items from the ship[/caption]

The “Holy Grail of shipwrecks” sank off the Colombian port of Cartagena in 1708, where it rested, unknown, until 2015.

Now, almost a decade after the discovery, the Colombian government has announced an underwater robot will be sent to extract some of the “incalculable wealth” from the wreck.

Colombia’s Culture Minister Juan David Correa revealed that the robot will be attempting to grab treasure from the outskirts of the galleon to see “how they materialise when they come out”.

The project is expected to cost the government more than $4.5 million, in the hope that it will help experts to understand how they can recover the remaining riches.

The state-of-the-art robot will work at a depth of 600m to extract materials “without modifying or damaging the wreck,” according to Correa.

Although the robotic equipment will be submerged, it will be connected to a Navy ship that will use cameras to keep an extensive record of every movement.

Navy researcher Captain Alexandra Chadid explained that, after three centuries of being submerged in the sea, most of the treasure has undergone physical and chemical changes.

The primary objective of the mission, therefore, is to determine how to stop the treasure from disintegrating when it is pulled out of the water.

Back in 2017, the Colombian Navy sent a remotely operated vehicle to a depth of 3,100ft to assess the wreckage and give a glimpse into what was sitting onboard.

Incredible images showed gold pieces, cannons and perfectly preserved Chinese porcelain cups scattered across the San Jose.

Trinkets were seen twinkling under the light of the cameras as bronze cannons, swords, and clay vessels were spotted on the seafloor.

Historians dubbed it the “holy grail” because it was carrying one of the largest amounts of treasure ever lost at sea.

The expedition to recover the fortune would start between April and May, depending on weather conditions.

But the discovery of the legendary galleon has been embroiled in long-standing tensions regarding ownership.

Spain has insisted that the sunken treasures belong to them – given that it was a Spanish ship.

We just want our ancestors to be at peace

Samuel FloresBolivian native leader

While Bolivia‘s indigenous Qhara Qhara nation have said that they were forced to mine the treasures for the Spaniards, and so it rightfully belongs to them.

The American research firm Glocca Morra, now called Sea Search Armada, claims they found the San Jose in 1981 and had given the coordinates to the Colombians for half the bounty.

This was denied by former Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos, who asserted that the Navy had found the vessel at a different location.

Colombia now considers the San Jose as part of its cultural heritage and as it was found in their territorial waters by them.

And Colombia’s current president, leftist Gustavo Petro, has adopted the same line.

He has desperately been scrambling to use the country’s own resources to recover the wreck, ensuring that it remains in Colombia.

For Petro, the wreck’s importance supercedes the treasure, and he hopes that countries won’t fight for it as if they were still in colonial times.

It is thought that Joaquin de Aristegui, Spain’s ambassador to Colombia, will offer Petro a bilateral agreement to protect the wreck.

Bolivia has also expressed their willingness to work with Petro’s government – they are just asking for a few pieces from the ship.

Native leader Samuel Flores said: “Not only for the symbolic issue but more for the spiritual issue.

“We just want our ancestors to be at peace.”

Meanwhile, Sea Search Armada is suing for half the treasures – estimated at an eye-watering $10 billion.

The actual location of the wreck remains unkown, but is believed to be just off the coast of Colombia, in the Caribbean Sea..

Only the Colombian government knows it’s exact coordinates.

What happened to the San Jose Galleon?

The San Jose was part of a fleet carrying jewels, precious metals and 11 million gold and silver coins from Spain’s South America colonies.

The cargo was destined to help Spain’s King Philip V fund his war against Britain.

But the British weren’t the only ones with their eyes on the galleons.

Frequent voyages by Spanish treasure ships had led to a golden age of piracy — with raiders sinking more than 1,000 Spanish ships off the coast of Colombia during three centuries of colonial rule.

The San José’s 600-strong crew knew the voyage would be fraught with danger.

But they were barely 16 miles out when they were tracked down by English

Commodore Charles Wager, in command of four British ships including HMS Expedition.

Wager’s plan was to seize the San José, the largest ship in the fleet.

But before it could be boarded, something went terribly wrong and the San José blew up.

Writing in his log, Wager described an explosion so intense that he could feel the heat from his own ship.

He wrote: “I believe the ship’s side blew out, for she caused a sea that came in our ports.

“She immediately sank with all her riches.”

Reuters$20 billion worth of treasures, including coins, gold, and emeralds lie at the bottom of the sea[/caption]

ReutersPerfectly preserved Chinese porcelain cups remain scattered across the vessel[/caption]

AFPA new expedition is expected to begin in April this year[/caption]

AFPThe Colombian Minister of Culture has said the expedition will cost $4.5 million[/caption]

AFPSpain, Bolivia, Colombia and the US all have claims to the treasure[/caption]

AFPThe Colombian Navy is leading extraction efforts[/caption]

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