SUNKEN TREASURE Legendary 300-year-old shipwreck dubbed ‘Holy Grail’ with treasure horde of ‘incalculable wealth’ to be raided by robot

 A money-grabbing robot is about to raid a legendary shipwreck off the coast of Colombia.

When the tragic San Jose Galleon was sunk by the British three centuries ago, it was filled with 200 tons of gold, silver and emeralds – now worth at least $20 billion.

The "Holy Grail of shipwrecks" sank in 1708 off the Colombian port of Cartagena, where it rested unknown until 2015.

Now, almost a decade after the discovery, the Colombian government has announced that an underwater robot will be sent to extract some of the "incomparable riches" from the wreck.

Colombia's Minister of Culture Juan David Correa revealed that the robot will attempt to grab the treasures from the outskirts of the galleon, to see "how they materialize when they come out".

The project is expected to cost the government more than $4.5 million, in the hope that it will help experts understand how they can recover the remaining funds. The state-of-the-art robot will work at a depth of 600 meters to extract material. According to Correa, "without modifying or damaging the wreckage."

Although the robotic equipment will be submerged, it will be attached to a Navy ship which will use cameras to keep a comprehensive record of every activity.

Navy researcher Captain Alexandra Chadid said that, after being submerged in the ocean for three centuries, much of the treasure has undergone physical and chemical changes.

Therefore, the primary objective of the mission is to determine how to prevent the treasure from disintegrating when it is taken out of the water.

In 2017, the Colombian Navy sent a remotely operated vehicle to a depth of 3,100 feet to assess the wreck and give a glimpse of what was on the ship.

Incredible images showed gold pieces, cannons and perfectly preserved Chinese porcelain cups scattered across San Jose.

Bronze cannons, swords and pottery were spotted on the seabed, with trinkets glinting in the light of cameras.

Historians dubbed it the "holy grail" because it carried one of the largest amounts of treasure ever lost at sea.

Depending on weather conditions, operations to reclaim the fortune will begin between April and May.

While the indigenous Qahara Qahara nation of Bolivia state that they were forced to mine the treasure for the Spaniards, and therefore it is their right.

The American research firm Gloca Mora, now called Sea Search Armada, claims to have discovered San José in 1981 and gave the coordinates to the Colombians for half the reward.

This was refuted by former Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, who claimed that the Navy had found the ship in a different location.

Colombia now considers San José as part of their cultural heritage and because it was found in their territorial waters.

And the current President of Colombia, leftist Gustavo Petro, has also adopted the same line.

He is making every effort to use the country's own resources to recover the wreckage, while ensuring that it remains in Colombia.

For Petro, the wreck is of greater importance than the treasure, and he hopes the country will not fight over it like they were still in colonial times.

It is believed that Joaquin de Aristegui, Spain's ambassador to Colombia, will offer Petro a bilateral agreement for the protection of the wreck.

Bolivia has also expressed willingness to work with the Petro government – they are just asking for a few pieces from the ship.

Native leader Samuel Flores said: “Not only for the symbolic issue but also for the spiritual issue.

“We just want our ancestors to live in peace.”

Meanwhile, the Sea Search Armada is suing for half the treasure – an estimated $10 billion. The exact location of the wreck is unknown, but it is believed to be just off the coast of Colombia in the Caribbean Sea.

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