A Spanish galleon that sank 300 years ago laden with treasure must be recovered before a dispute between the Colombian government and a company directed by a Bellevue man can be settled, Colombia's highest court ruled Thursday.
....The Supreme Court ruled that once the San Jose is lifted from the sea, experts can classify its artifacts following Colombian law.
Pieces declared "treasure" will be split evenly between the Colombian government and Sea Search Armada, a Cayman Islands-registered commercial-salvage company that claims to have discovered the shipwreck. Items classified as part of Colombia's cultural patrimony will be awarded solely to the government.
....Sea Search, which claims to have invested $12 million since beginning its search nearly three decades ago, took the government to court.
....There remains some doubt as to whether the ship has been found.
A treasure hunter hired by the government to verify the coordinates turned up nothing. An underwater video taken of the supposed wreck in 1982 shows what looks like a coral-reef-covered woodpile.