Oriflama SA

US$30 million treasure buried under sand off Chile's coast

By Laura Burgoine - The Santiago Times

A shipwrecked vessel containing an estimated US$30 million of treasure may soon be resurfaced in Chile after more than two centuries in Davy Jones’ locker.

The National Monuments Council (NMC) is currently negotiating with private company Oriflama SA over the ownership rights of Spanish galleon “Our Lady of the good council and San Leopoldo,” which has been located under the sands of Playa La Trinchera in Curepto (Region VII).

Oriflama SA and local museums have been working towards recovering the ship and its treasure since 2001. But under the National Monuments Act No. 17,288, the remains of the Galleon are state property.

NMC executive secretary Oscar Acuna said the NMC is willing to award Oriflama SA 25 percent of the value of the treasure for their work, but that ultimately the galleon belongs to the state.

The ship’s treasure, which is believed to include gold coins, fine glassware, guns of war, furniture, and clothing decorated with gold and various jewels, cannot be officially valued until the ship’s remains are recovered from under the sand.

The project has already cost Oriflama SA US$1million, and by the time the resurfacing of the vessel is complete, costs are estimated at another US$15 million.

Oriflama SA CEO Hernan Couyoudijan said the company’s goal is to create a museum after completing the project. “We want to make a museum out of it.

This would not only preserve some of history but potentially boost tourism in Curepto” he said.