San Jose, a Spanish ship that was attacked by a British troop 300 years ago for the sake of its $17 billion bounty (including emeralds, gold, and silver) has been discovered off the coast of Colombia.
Colombian state authorities have issued a statement on Saturday, reporting the discovery of the shipwreck of San Jose, a Spanish galleon that has remained missing since 1708. Over the years, researchers had been searching for it, but in vain.
The great treasure had attracted a British squadron that had sought to lay their hands on it which eventually led to the sinking of the ship.
The shipwreck was spotted near the Caribbean coast, close to port city Cartagena. However, its precise location has not been divulged. The Columbian government did say that it was discovered in an area that was not mentioned in previous researches.
To whom does the ship (including its treasure) belong: Columbia or Spain? The issue was taken to court when Colombia assigned full ownership to itself. On the other hand, back in the 1980s, an American company, the Sea Search Armada (SSA), was given the rights to 35% of the treasure after it provided relevant data as to the possible location of the ship. Consequently, the SSA had filed lawsuits against Colombia. It is to be noted that the recent discovery was not ascribed to the contribution of the SSA in the official statement.
On the other hand, Spain believes it has rights to the ship. Its Foreign Minister Jose Garcia-Margallo says in a statement reported by BBC News that the issue can be resolved in a friendly manner.
Taking out the wealth of San Jose might take years. Meanwhile, perhaps, its ownership will be clearly defined.