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'Holy Grail of shipwrecks' to be exhumed off Colombia with $20 billion sunken treasure


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NY Post

Colombia is hoping to expedite its mission to recover a three-century-old sunken treasure worth as much as $20 billion as the ownership of the fortune lies in legal limbo amid an ongoing court battle.

President Gustavo Petro ordered his administration to exhume the “holy grail of shipwrecks” — the Spanish galleon San José — from the floor of the Caribbean Sea as soon as possible, the country’s minister of culture told Bloomberg last week.

Petro wants to bring the 62-gun, three-masted ship to the surface before his term is up in 2026 and has requested a public-private partnership be formed to see it through, Minister of Culture Juan David Correa told the outlet Wednesday.

“This is one of the priorities for the Petro administration,” he said. “The president has told us to pick up the pace.”

But mystery surrounds the ownership of the massive trove of gold, silver and emeralds estimated to be worth anywhere between $4 billion and $20 billion, according to a lawsuit.


The crux of the issue appears to revolve around who is believed to have found it.

The San José galleon — with 600 crew members onboard — sunk some 2,000 feet on June 8, 1708, during a battle against the British in the War of the Spanish Succession. It remained a thing of legend for years as its exact location was unknown.:snip:

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