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Old 05-04-2018, 10:30 PM
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Default Canarian Weekly: Spain?s sunken-galleon battle with Columbia for its untold millions

A SUNKEN galleon full of gold coins and precious stones, for which both Spain and Colombia claim ownership, would cost 57.2 million euros to bring to the surface, according to a recent estimate.

The San José was, famously, shot down by British pirates on 8th June 1708, off the Cartagena de Indias coast, on Colombia’s Caribbean coast.

From Spain, it was heading for that city, now a popular tourism destination,* having stopped at the Portobelo fair in Panamá to collect a consignment of 11 million gold and silver coins, worth an absolute fortune.

Also on board are several million emeralds, pearls and other precious stones, according to historical archives. Its exact location was not known until 4th December, 2015.

The sunken San José. and its lucrative cargo, are a hugely-famous chapter in history throughout Spain and Colombia. In fact, Gabriel García Márquez, the late Colombian Nobel Literature Prize winner, dedicates several pages of his iconic novel, Love in the Time of Cholera, to the hero, who attempted to locate the ship and its treasures, to win the heroine’s heart.

Spain claims UNESCO is supporting its claim of ownership for the San José, since it was originally a “State-owned” vessel. But Colombia officials insists their country is the rightful proprietor, because the treasures were being taken there when the British shot it down.

However, both countries have expressed their willingness to reach “an amicable agreement.

Meanwhile, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos (pictured), says public and private associations will be engaged if the San José is brought to the surface; thus saving taxpayers’ funds.

He pledges that the government will “evaluate the proposals”, along with its technical teams, and “approve the most convenient”.

Columbia’s* intention right now is to award the contract for refloating the boat to Maritime Archaeology Consultants Switzerland AG, “unless anyone else is interested”.

The Heritage Ministry of President Santos believes that the “historical, scientific and cultural significance of the ship” would attract a high number of foreign visitors, both the general public and specialists.
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