First Look at Billion Dollar Treasure Ship

Washington (TFT) – On June 8, 1708, British and Spanish forces collided in sharp naval battle that lasted through the night. The battle, now known as Wager’s Action, was part of the larger War of Spanish Succession. In the end, three Spanish ships were lost, including the now famous treasure ship, the San José.

Action off Cartagena, 28 May 1708. Oil by Samuel Scott

The San José was armed to the teeth, baring nearly sixty-two cannon and a crew of six hundred. Her armaments were dedicated to decimating enemy ships and protecting a cargo that is now estimated to be worth $17 Billion in current dollars. For years, her final resting place remained a mystery, until a team of international scientists and engineers found her settled just off the Colombian coast, near the town of Cartagena in 2015.

With permission, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has released new images and details from the wreck site of the three-hundred year old treasure ship.

Ceramics and artifacts covered in sediment. (REMUS image, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

The San José was discovered with the help of REMUS 6000, an autonomous, underwater robot that was provided by WHOI. REMUS was able to hover just thirty feet above the wreck site, sending the images now seen here back to the research team.

The REMUS 6000 (Mike Purcell, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

The San Jose has been referred to as “the holy grail of shipwrecks” and was positively identified with the help of her bronze cannons, which featured engraved dolphins (below).

(REMUS image, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

While the estimated value of the gold, silver and precious stones located on the San José is estimated to be worth billions, the historical and cultural significance of this find is priceless. The exact location of the wreck site is now a closely guarded state secret, however per the Associated Press, the United Nation’s cultural agency, UNESCO, has called on the government of Colombia to not commercially exploit the wreck site.

The Foggy Times | Hunter Gomez 

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