There have been many shipwrecks found underwater, but a recently revealed discovery of a particular shipwreck might stand out because of the $17 billion treasure on board.

History Of The San Jose

The San Jose was a Spanish galleon that set sail in 1698. It was used heavily in the 18th century's War of the Spanish Succession.

In June 1708, the San Jose was caught in a battle against a British squadron. During the sea battle off of the coast of present-day Colombia, the 60-gun powder magazines detonated and decimated the ship. The San Jose sunk, killing most of the 600 crew members.

The ship also held a lot of treasures, which also sank with it. For centuries, people didn't know the exact location of the shipwreck.

How A Robot Found The Ship

It took three centuries before the shipwreck of the San Jose was finally discovered. Its final resting place is more than 600 meters below the surface, under the Caribbean Sea, near Cartagena, Colombia. The location had been a great mystery for centuries among scientists and historians.

A team of international scientists, led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, discovered the wreck on Nov. 27, 2015. They used an autonomous underwater vehicle called Remus 6000 to locate the exact spot of the wreck and to search it.

Remus 6000 has the technology to conduct long-duration missions over vast areas. Previously, it helped in finding the wreckage of Air France 4447 in 2011.

"During that November expedition, we got the first indications of the find from side scan sonar images of the wreck," said WHOI expedition leader Mike Purcell. "The wreck was partially sediment-covered, but with the camera images from the lower altitude missions, we were able to see new details in the wreckage and the resolution was good enough to make out the decorative carving on the cannons."

Why Are Scientists Finally Revealing The Discovery?

Despite this discovery occurring in 2015, it is finally surfacing.

"We've been holding this under wraps out of respect for the Colombian government," said WHOI's vice president for marine facilities and operations, Rob Munier.

The reason WHOI waited to publicly announce the discovery was because of the treasure on board the shipwreck, which was valued between $1 billion to $17 billion. With that vast wealth, some people have called this the "holy grail of shipwrecks."

In addition to Colombia's claim to the treasure, Spain might also want a piece of it because the ship was originally from that country.

Officials have not revealed when or how the objects from the ship will be recovered.

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