Colombia halts bidding on excavation of historic shipwreck

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BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — The excavation of a Spanish ship that sank off the coast of Colombia with a trove of silver and gold now worth billions will have to wait a bit longer.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced Monday he is suspending efforts to create a special partnership with a private entity to dig up the shipwreck.

Santos said he has decided to hand off the project to President-elect Ivan Duque's administration amid pending court decisions and public concern over the ship's future.

The San Jose galleon sank in battle with British ships more than 300 years ago. It was located in 2015 but has been mired in legal and diplomatic disputes.

The ship sunk with a treasure of gold, silver and emeralds and is often called the "holy grail of shipwrecks."

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