Off the coast of Colombia lies the legendary Spanish ship “San José”, known as the “Holy Grail of shipwrecks”. Loaded with a treasure of billions. Researchers now want to examine the seabed “non-intrusively”.

Colombia has taken measures to protect the “Holy Grail” of all shipwrecks. As the New York Post reported on Wednesday (May 22), the country has given a special name to the famous Spanish warship that lies off the Caribbean coast. It is the San José, which is said to be loaded with emeralds, gold and silver worth 17 billion dollars. The ship has now been declared an “archaeological reserve” to ensure its “long-term preservation”.

According to the Colombian Ministry of Culture, this measure aims to ensure the “protection of heritage” and allow the “development of research, conservation and evaluation activities”. “It is not a treasure, we are not treating it as such,” said Culture Minister Juan David Correa, according to the New York Post. 

The San José, a 60-gun warship, sank in the waters near Baru Island, Cartagena, after a battle with British warships during the War of the Spanish Succession. It was only discovered by Colombians in 2015. The striking find sparked a dispute over the wreck’s ownership, with Colombia, Spain, Bolivian indigenous communities and a US company making claims.

Researchers have now launched an expedition to photograph the ship using “non-intrusive remote sensors”. Once the results of this mission are available, further expeditions could follow to recover archaeological material from the San José.

As CNN also reports, the researchers are also planning to use an underwater ship with acoustic tracking technology and a remote-controlled vehicle with various sensors and tools that can dive to the depths of the site. What complicates all efforts, according to “Metro”: No diver can dive deep enough to retrieve the treasure.

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