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Modern Mysteries

Firm in new bid to remove Titanic artifacts

By T.K. Randall
February 23, 2020 · Comment icon 9 comments

Many Titanic artifacts will soon be lost forever. Image Credit: Willy Stower - 1912
An underwater salvage company is seeking legal permission to retrieve objects from inside the wreck.
Situated 13,000ft beneath the surface of the Atlantic, the wreck of the Titanic was discovered in 1985 and has since served as a humbling reminder of the disaster that claimed over 1,500 lives.

Given that so many people died when the vessel sank however, there have long been calls for access to the wreck to be limited in the interests of respecting the victims and their families.

Even so, some firms have been keen to venture down to the seafloor in an attempt to retrieve valuable artifacts from the vessel and the debris field surrounding it.

Now one company - R.M.S. Titanic, Inc. - is seeking permission to retrieve the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Machine that was used to send the ship's distress calls during its final hours.
The firm, which has previously retrieved silverware, china and gold coins from the wreck, will need to undertake the operation before the room's ceiling collapses and the device is lost forever.

"It's one of those iconic artifacts, like the signal flares (that the sinking ship launched)," oceanographer David Gallo told the court during a recent hearing on the matter of obtaining permission.

It would not constitute 'grave robbery', he argued, because it would honor the passengers and provide a way to connect people to the vessel's legacy.

Retrieving items from inside the ship is a practice that has long been met with resistance from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration which represents public interest in the wreck site.

Currently it is not permitted to cut holes or take items directly from inside the wreck.

Whether the judge will decide to make an exception in this case however remains to be seen.

Source: Tech Xplore | Comments (9)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by XenoFish 4 years ago
I thought that most of the titanic and what's in it was beyond salvage. I figured sea water would've ate it all away by now.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Not A Rockstar 4 years ago
I vote no. This is just a profiteering grab. They decided it was a graveyard at this point and only the debris field could be salvaged. This requires cutting into the hull. Just no. Once cut into they will want anything else they can get to on the inside.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Stiff 4 years ago
Quick question as I'm not very up on marine tech and legalities. Is the site guarded? Or monitored in some way? If not, how could they stop anyone plundering the site? Obviously anything removed illegally would have no real provenance but would possibly sell to the right hands on the black market somewhere. As an anecdote, I used to work, subcontracted, for a marine company on ship refits. The owner of the company was believed to be the biggest collector of Titanic artifacts. I forget what kind of stuff he owned but it was an impressive list.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Crikey 4 years ago
Speaking of the Titanic, me and some mates bumped into a lady in the city centre who was obsessed with the ship, and she showed us a locket round her neck which she said contained a few tiny bits of coal from the ships coal bunkers. Later I realised I should have asked her how exactly the coal got up from the seabed to be sold to people like her?
Comment icon #5 Posted by MissJatti 4 years ago
Let her RIP god damn it.
Comment icon #6 Posted by razman 4 years ago
I don't know if I would want to wear any coal from the wreck.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Still Waters 4 years ago
Comment icon #8 Posted by Myles 4 years ago
Yep.   I'm glad.   They should get some good video and hopefully retrieve some artifacts.   A salvage firm has received approval from a judge in Virginia to remove the telegraph machine from the famous Titanic wreck that was used to send distress signals when the liner sank more than 100 years ago.   Salvage company RMS Titanic Inc.’s plan to retrieve the Marconi wireless telegraph has sparked controversy, with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration among those who h... [More]
Comment icon #9 Posted by Still Waters 4 years ago

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