310-Year-Old "Holy Grail Of Shipwrecks" Worth $17B Found In Caribbean

 

A 310-year-old Spanish shipwreck was discovered at the bottom of the Caribbean Ocean by an underwater robot and its treasure might be worth up to $17 billion.

The shipwreck was found with bronze cannons engraved with dolphins - a telltale sign that they belonged to the Spanish galleon San Jose and was lost over 300 years ago.

"I just sat there for about 10 minutes and smiled," said Jeff Kaeli, a research engineer with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. 

Kaeli was alone in his bunk when he discovered the cannons.

"I'm not a marine archaeologist, but...I know what a cannon looks like. So in that moment, I guess I was the only person in the world who knew we'd found the shipwreck," he said.

The location of the wreckage remains a secret, but was discovered in November 2015 off the coast of Cartagena, Colombia and contains a cargo of gold, silver and emeralds that are valued at about $17 billion.

The treasure was discovered by the Remus 6000 which is owned and operated by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts which found the sunken ship almost 2,000 feet below the surface.  Initially the underwater robot scanned the sea floor using a long-range sonar and later returned to take photos of anything out of the ordinary.

"You can take bigger risks with your technology and go to places where it wouldn't be safe or feasible to put a human being," Kaeli said. 

The ship was sunk by British warships in 1701 along with its crew of 600.  The location remains a secret because all of the treasures still remain underwater.  Because the treasure was found off the coast of Columbia and the ship is from Spain but discovered by American's, each country is now trying to claim ownership and has evolved into a dispute.


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