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Shipwreck worth $17,000,000,000 is being recovered after 316 years underwater
Featured Image Credit: HISTORY/YouTube/ABC News

Shipwreck worth $17,000,000,000 is being recovered after 316 years underwater

The ship was lost for centuries after being sunk by British warships

A Spanish ship worth an estimated $17 billion is set to be recovered after being hidden underwater for centuries.

It was 1708 when the San José ship met its fate in a battle against British warships upon it's journey back to Spain, causing it to sink into the ocean off the coast of Colombia.

When it did, it took with it the lives of 600 people, as well as treasure made up of 200 tons of silver and emeralds, 11 million gold coins, an intact Chinese dinner service and porcelain pottery, according to findings by Colombian Navy divers in June 2022.

The cargo was intended to help fund The War of the Spanish Succession, which took place between 1701 to 1714, but it remained lost for centuries after the sinking.

It wasn't until 2015 the $17 billion ship was rediscovered, when former Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos described it as the 'most valuable treasure that has been found in the history of humanity'.

The shipwreck has multiple valuable items on board.
NBC News

Still, the ship went untouched, with a press release from Colombian officials explaining: "So far, the entire discovery of the Galeón San José Asset of Cultural Interest and its archaeological evidence have been deposited without any variation, other than that produced by the marine dynamics themselves (currents and fauna), with no evidence of external interventions."

Almost a decade on from its discovery, officials have announced that it will invest 17,962 million pesos ($1,073,646) into the process needed to recover the ship as soon as April.

The recovery will be a joint effort between the Ministry of Cultures, Arts and Knowledge, the National Navy's General Maritime Directorate and the Colombian Institute of Anthropology and History.

The recovery of the shipwreck will begin as early as April.
NBC News

"For the first time in history, a model of comprehensive public management of the archaeological site and asset of cultural interest, protected by regulations and public missionality, is advanced," the Colombian government said in the news release.

Last month, Culture Minister Juan David Correa told Agence France-Presse that the recovery team will utilise the help of an underwater robot to help recover some of the treasure on board.

Correa explained that the robot would extract some items from the surface of the ship to see 'how they materialize when they come out (of the water)' and help inform the recovery effort going forward.

The shipwreck was discovered back in 2015.
NBC News

The recovery comes after the discovery of the ship sparked debate over who it legally belonged to, with Colombia, Spain, Bolivian Indigenous groups and even an American salvage company all attempting to claim ownership over the years.

In 2018, UNESCO made the decision to intervene when the Colombian government tried to auction some of the ship's treasures to fund recovery costs.

It was later decided in May 2022 to keep the 'invaluable cultural heritage of Colombians managed under the figure of a protected archaeological area of ​​the national order'.

Topics: Money, Science, World News