A Flag lefta plaque removed


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Jun 10, 1999
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Hello:

I am intrigued with two seperate passages from
two seperate posts of previous.

First, Dave Shuttle mentioned that the builders plaque was recovered on the RMSTI 2000 expedition. It is my understanding, coming from a noted historian and 2000 expediton member, that it were Ken Marschall who dove aboard a MIR submersible whos objective was to locate and possibly recover the plaque. However this effort proved to no avail, as I recall only some screws and a ghostly impression of the plaques mount on the bridge bullwark were all that remained. An extra effort, to some extent, searching the area directly below also proved futile.

I have seen a broad range of bridge photographs taken by various expeditions that visited the Titanic wreck, namely Emory Kristof, IFREMER, and of a late a special shot that appeared in the most recent release of the periodical ARCHAEOLOGY.
The photos reveal several memorials, including an
offering of plastic roses. Nowhere have I seen an American Flag, so until photographic evidence can support this aquisation, it should be taken as heresay. Page 135 of 9 Oct '99 NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC features a Japanese naval ensign, of which the MIR submersibles attatched to the I-52, honoring the dead. Could someone please link me to a photograph of the American Flag resting on Titanic's wreck??

As for Mel Fisher's ashs on the wreck...I am sure this is a grave misunderstanding. Perhaps someone is ill-informed, and was mistaken with the interment of Peter Gimball & Wife's remains deep inside the wreck of ANDREA DORIA.

Photographs bear far more concrete fact than mere passage of heresay...billowing like a leaf in the wind.

Michael Cundiff
Nevada, USA
 
Mar 3, 1998
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Michael,

The builder's plaque has not been offically recovered. By 'officially,' I mean that RMSTI does not list it in their artifact inventory. The RMSTI 2000 expedition looked for it, but came away empty-handed. All that remains is the oval of uncovered salmon-coloured primer paint where the plaque used to be. Ken Marschall never had any intention of recovering the plaque (he does not believe in pulling artifacts off the wreck), but he did request his pilot to show him the area so that he could read the plaque's inscription. Unfortunately, the plaque was gone by then. The crew that dove after Ken conducted a more thorough search for the plaque, but likewise came back without ever seeing it. Whether the plaque fell off on its own or was stolen (that is, taken unscrupulously without recording its recovery) by a previous expedition is anyone's guess until such time as it can be found.

Parks
 
Jun 10, 1999
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Hello Parks:

Thank you for your clarification on the matter of the builders plaque.

As for Ken Marschall's feelings on salvage from Titanic...years ago he contributed a fine article to USA TODAY periodical, something the likes of
"Confronting the controversy of salvage from Titanic" (I have the article archived somewhere). Marschall simulates an intermediate standpoint. The quality of the man's character is evident at which point he conveys his realization of the shade of grey which exists. Marschall furthur expressed his interest in salvaging from the scatter(debris) field. He seemed exhuberant in learning that a camera, still retaining it's nitrate film was recovered. His hope rested with the possiblity of retrieving, thus exposing the frozen images from 1912.

In summarizing his outlook into the route of which RMSTI/George Tulloch chose, and at which time were trudging forward, Marschall appeared pleased, as opposed to an alternate approach which could have faired far worse .

Michael Cundiff
Nevada, USA
 
Jun 10, 1999
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Hello:

Here is a follow-up to the *article* of my aforemention:
__________________________________________________
A TITANIC TASK: CONFRONTING THE CONTROVERSY OF SALVAGING ARTIFACTS

I offer some of Ken Marschall's insightful passages as example:

"What could be more extraordinary than retrieving a lost suitcase or steamer trunk from more than 12,000 feet beneath the sea, that it may be examined by or even returned to its owner or descendants thereof?"

"If the ship is to be considered a grave site, it can be argued that it was sacrilegious even to want to find and look at it in the first place. Why is TITANIC'S discovery and closeup, probing photography to be applauded, while recovering an object, no matter how tiny or far out in the debris field, is somehow the most grievous of offenses?"

"...the world wants to see and touch recovered artifacts from this historic ship".
__________________________________________________

For those parties intent on reading the aticle in it's entirety, I point you to your EBSCO data base:

SOURCE: USA Today Magazine, Nov95, Vol. 124 Issue 2606, p50, 2p, 1c

AUTHOR: Marschall, Ken

DATABASE: MasterFILESelect

This then offers a better understanding of *why* one of the most prominent members of the THS, and foremost artist of TITANIC, participated in an endeavor for the year 2000, to recover artifacts from R.M.S. TITANIC.

Like I said, the quality of the man's character is evident with his summmary of an prolonging controversy.



Michael Cndiff
Nevada, USA
 

Bill Willard

Member
Mar 24, 2001
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Gentlemen,

I would like to add one comment to your discussion. A portion of Mel Fisher's ashes were left on the bridge area by Pat Clyne. He states this clearly in an article on the IMAC digest web page. I also have this confirmed from two expedition members who were present, Ralph White and Michael Harris.

There has also been discussion over the builder's plaque. My sources say Marschall did want to recover the plaque, and feels that it may be on the deck in a difficult area to get to behind the forward cranes. MIR equipment on his dive did not have the proper accessories to search the deck debris. A discussion occurred after the dive, and the legal representative for the company on site, David Concannon, significantly pointed out that to recover the plaque would have been a violation of the order handed down by Judge Clarke on August 1.

By the way, word has it that Fisher's ashes were later moved, because the television special from ABC (I think) showed the bridge deck, and the Fisher container was not in the image around the telemotor.

Respectfully,
Bill Willard
 
Jun 10, 1999
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Hello Mr. Willard:

I want to thank you for your clairification on the previous matters. First, it really makes no sense to have Mel Fisher's interment of remains subject with Titanic's ultimate fate. It would seem much more fitting to have Fisher's ashs cast over the site of the ATOCHA. If only for the reason that upon the discovery of a cannon, which subsequently met positive identification to ATOCHA, Mel Fisher presented his son Dirk with a $10,000 bounty prize...at which time ATOCHA would furthur mount it's toll...Dirk and his girlfriend, standing guard by anchoring over the sight, would die as consequence of a capsize. I can find no association of Mel Fisher to TITANIC, which would honor such a request.

As for salvage of TITANIC, I can only find it as senseless to *allow* salvage of the surrounding scatter field, when, as David Livingston (H&W Fame) recently attested..."There are lots of shoes down there, Men, Women, and Children", and furthurmore George Tulloch's declaration of a labeled fossil field being off-limits. Yet the appointed *high and mighty* are depriving us of, perhaps the most invaluable insight that the wreck has to offer. I am speaking of the mails.

As for the lust for treasure of diamonds, or art, or what have your monetary possesion? I feel that the tragedy in itself answers for a denouemet...the sea chose no favorites, an Astor or a Fireman would suffice, for just how fallible a man are. No matter your declaration of wealth. Forever let the riches, which were cast into the abyss, go left alone and stand testament.

May these individuals who quest the TITANIC wreck for treasure, pause to recognize the human fortitude of 14-15 April '12 as TITANIC'S ultimate treasure.

Michael Cundiff
Carson City, NV
 

Bill Willard

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Mar 24, 2001
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Michael,

I most certainly agree with you about Mel Fisher. The Atocha would be a more proper place for him. He did indeed pay a dear price for that ship.

As for your comment about the mails of Titanic: What a tremendous 'wealth' of information lies inside the mail room. Yet, who is going to legally posess it when it is recovered? This is a question asked earlier by Mr. Tulloch. It seems some members of this board are very critical of the recovery operations, and even the exhibitions themselves. It is their right to disagree, but it cannot be both ways. Allow me a moment to explain. First, the British Postal service claims ownership of the mails because they "haven't been delivered to the American soil" and the American postal service claims the mails because the Titanic was owned by an American (J. P. Morgan) and the American postal workers worked alongside British postal workers on Titanic. For the mails to be recovered will be a very delicate operation, requiring much time, new technology, ergo much money. Restoration costs for paper sometimes triple that of metal. So, we can start talking in the hundreds of millions of $$ for 6,600+ mailbags, and if you get 20 bags per day (highly unlikely) that would be 300 days on site. We were at the site approximately 26 days during the 98 Expedition. Where does the money come from? Only two or three ROVs can even penetrate the hull at those depths and still use manipulators, but it will take more than what is available to do this mission. But again, where will the $$ come from?

I agree with you of how wonderful these pieces of history would be to study and read, just as Dave Shuttle discovered his ancestral link with the Great Lady. As for the debris field itself, it still contains numerous pieces similar to Howard Irwin's bag, and the recently recovered alligator bag. It seems though, as long as the current money-thirsty management of RMSTI is in power, we will be in for more of the diamond-hunts you mentioned.

To quote Maury Yeston: "And let all our children know on this day long ago we dreamt of them, and came aboard this ship....God bless this noble ship."

Bill Willard
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
As a purely objective question, I would have to ask if the few ROV's capable of going inside the ship at those depths would be able to handle the weight of even one mailbag.

I've been on working parties where bags of mail were brought onto ships that I served on and those things are not lightweights. Now add the weight of the water which all that paper would have absorbed...

Well, I think you guys can see where the problem lies.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 

Bill Willard

Member
Mar 24, 2001
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Greetings, Michael

Of the few ROV's, several can be configured to lift a reasonable load. The danger here would be the fragility of wet paper. A practical lift procedure would be a scoop technique, to insert a thin layered metal or plastic shelf underneath the entire bag, then apply the force and lift the shelf. The bag would have limited disturbance with little damage to the interior contents.

There has been a question of the integrity of the interior contents.

You are correct with the ROV assesment. Special innovations would have to be designed, tested and implemented.

It was nice meeting you in Columbia, even though we didn't get the opportunity to talk as much as we'd liked.

Take Care,
Bill Willard
 
Jul 9, 2000
58,666
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Easley South Carolina
Hi Bill, maybe next time we can have a longer chat. Just a quick question, have intact...or reasonably intact...mailbags actually been seen? It would seem to be quite a waste to risk an expensive ROV in this place only to find there's nothing to recover.

Cordially
Michael H. Standart
 

Bill Willard

Member
Mar 24, 2001
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Yes, Michael. On two expeditions, the big starboard hole has been photographed and significant detail can be observed with the mail bags. The interior floor looks like a wooly skin with long hair growing from it, with large mounds identified as the mailbags.

Bill Willard
 
Jul 9, 2000
58,666
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Easley South Carolina
Wooly skin? I have seen it then! The local sealife must find the material quite tasty then. Hopefully, if legal snags can be removed or resolved, what lies underneath will be salvageable and readable.

I'm not exactly what you would call pro-salvage, but this is something for it's obvious historical value that I wouldn't mind seeing brought back to daylight.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
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