January 21, 2021

Spain asks Colombia not to market the 'San José' and remember that it is "State ship" | Culture

Spain asks Colombia not to market the 'San José' and remember that it is "State ship" | Culture


The Spanish Government has reacted to the decision of the Colombian Executive to postpone the award to a private company of the work of extracting the submarine bottom of the galleon Saint Joseph, sunk during a naval battle in front of Cartagena de Indias in 1708. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs "welcomes" the decision of the Government of Colombia to "review the conditions." The previous Executive of Juan Manuel Santos had decided that a private company, through a cooperation agreement with the South American State, extract the wreck. But the new Government of Iván Duque has legal doubts about the operation since it is a historical deposit and the adjudicataria would keep a part of it. And, in addition, Spain presses. The ship is considered a "State ship" and is protected by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Sea, an agreement that Colombia has not ratified.

In an official statement, Spain recalls that "the Saint Joseph it was a flag warship Spanish, which sank in 1708 in the course of a naval battle with 600 sailors on board. "Therefore, says the Ministry of Foreign Affairs headed by Josep Borrell," we reiterate the well-known Spanish position that defends that, according to International Law, admitted by all nations, the Saint Joseph It was a state ship, its remains are considered underwater tombs and can not be commercially exploited. "

High definition image of the remains of the 'San José' galleon.
High definition image of the remains of the 'San José' galleon.

The Spanish government insists that "it fully shares with the Government of Colombia the will to preserve for Humanity the assets of historic and cultural interest located in the wreck". Appeals, in addition, "to the traditional friendship between the two sister nations, reiterates its offer of collaboration to jointly execute an archaeological project adjusted to the best scientific practices, which is totally respectful of the condition of underwater tomb of the wreck and with concurrent interests of both countries. "

The idea of ​​the Spanish experts, as they have explained to EL PAÍS, is that the two governments collaborate. "It is not important gold or riches that could carry, but the knowledge of the joint history and make a common project to be for the next generations." These specialists emphatically reject that an external company "keep a part of a cultural deposit" to pay for the extraction work, whose cost would be around 150 million euros. "They want, fundamentally, the gold ingots, but they should not take anything, even the sand where the galleon is buried is the heritage of all."

Letter from the governor of Colombia explaining to Felipe V the naval disaster of Barú.
Letter from the governor of Colombia explaining to Felipe V the naval disaster of Barú.

In 2015, the remains of the galleon were located by the company Maritime Archeology Consultans (MAC) that had all the permits of the Colombian Ministry of Culture and the Colombian Institute of Anthropology and History (ICAHN). In fact, MAC did some research (whose images and videos yesterday published this newspaper) and that would allow him to opt for the award in advantageous conditions.

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