Process begins on how to untangle riches from the discovered San Jose galleon, the sunken 18th Century Spanish ship that carried anywhere from $1 to $17 billion in treasures.
AT SEA (RECENT) (GOVERNMENT TV) – The governments of Colombia and Spain have pledged to work in conjunction, but Madrid has acknowledged “discrepancies,” over how best to decide ownership of a discoverd 18th century ship containing riches that could be worth billions.
The Spanish galleon San Jose sunk back in 1708, and was loaded with gold and silver as part of the Spanish Armada. Ceramic goods, bronze cannons and other weapons are also on board, according to reports. The riches have been estimated to be worth anywhere be between $1 and $17 billion dollars, according to media reports. The cold water surrounding the ship has helped to preserve it.
The discovery follows years of intense pursuit for the vaunted San Jose.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced the discovery after a crew from the Colombian Anthropology and History Institute came across the ship during an operation in late November.
The discovery was made off of Colombia’s Caribbean coast, near the city of Cartagena. It reportedly sank after British pirates launched cannons at the vessel.
The governments involved have begun to try and figure out a way to divy up the bounty. Santos has publicly claimed it as Colombian, while also joining the call by the country’s foreign ministers to recognise the ship as part of global heritage. Santos intends to open a museum for the ship.
The countries’ foreign ministers met on the sidelines of a meeting of Ibero-American Conference of Foreign Ministers to discuss the issue. Their statements made clear the claims process is only beginning.
“There are discrepancies with regards to the ownership of the property. The two parties have both insisted at this time that we have to find a formula so the two countries can
collaborate on conservation and protection of a property, which is part of patrimony for all mankind,” Spanish Foreign Minister, Jose Manuel Garcia, said.
“Basically, we have the same objective, and we want to be clear on that — this is part of patrimony of all mankind, and it’s how this heritage is conserved, and on that we can continue discussing. That’s the baseline of this issue. We have received a verbal note, we will respond to it as soon as we hear back from all the studies the Colombian government has done. We hope to do it soon and continue working with Spain,” said Colombian Foreign Minister, Maria Angela Holguin, referring to a note from Spain in which it claimed sovereignty over the boat.
Spain’s claim is based on the sovereign immunity the vessel should receive on the seas. At the time, Britain and Spain were involved in the War of Succession.
Nearly all of the roughly 600 people on board who died were Spanish.