Bow Anchor Removal


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Mike Bull

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Dec 23, 2000
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So, RMS Titanic Inc. are seeking permission to not only remove items from inside the bow section, (Come on, we all knew it was coming)but to also recover one of the ship's anchors. If this is allowed to happen, I think it truly will be the begining of the end for the wreck-open season to pick at it until only the bones remain, as it were. Debris field items are one thing-and where is the inventory of the reovered items by the way-but these people absolutely MUST NOT be allowed to do this.
 

Bill Willard

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The Expedition Plan for Expedition 2000 called for the removal of an anchor, and as an objective, the removal of the port side hull plating containing the name "TITANIC".

Please consider this though, Mike, and I can tell you're strong in your feelings here. When Titanic finally does crumble into pieces of iron and steel and broken glass, what will we have left but memories and a few items recovered from the debris field?

Or, couldn't the memories of this ship be better served in museums of artifacts that tell of the people and of their stories?

In 100 years, what will the residents of this planet think when the question arises: "They had the opportunity to rescue those items for us, but why didn't they do it?" With so many other recoveries such as the Hunley and the Monitor, why should Titanic be excluded?

My personal belief is that selective recovery would be an asset for generations. I do not believe in a strip-mining philosophy at the site as others do.

Though we may disagree on the topic, I am interested in your thoughts.

Bill Willard
 

Dave Hudson

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Bill,

It was nice to finally see someone stick there neck out there and say they are prosalvage. I'm not really for or against it, I find strengths and weaknesses with both sides, but it's nice to see someone publicly admitting their "controversial" point of view. Just be ready for a rain of criticism!

Get out your umbrellas!

David
 

Bill Willard

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David, thanks for the warning! I have no problem with others of differing opinions IF they tell me why they believe the way they do, and we keep a civil discussion on board. 'It's okay to disagree' was a lesson learned long ago.

I can empathize with those who see the ship as a memorial. I see the USS Arizona in much the same way. However I can also see a page of history when I see a Titanic artifact. It was a feeling I cannot describe when I saw the Big Piece recently removed from the depths. I felt the same way seeing the remains of the Hunley. It is a tangible, visible way to let this ship live on in more than just our memories.

I am envious of many who came before me and had the opportunity to sit down and talk with survivors and participants of the greatest maritime story ever. I don't have that opportunity. All I have is what someone else tells me. So, these pieces of history, these old antiquated objects that are so out of style carry with them a story, and it rivets me to that place at that time to see these objects.

I've been to many exhibitions, the most recent in Maryland. I still tear up and experience a strong personal reverence for each piece as I gaze at it, into it, and past it to that night.

I respect the feelings of those who are against salvage, but I must disagree. Those feelings I experience are due to the artifacts. Why do thousands visit the cemeteries in Halifax each year? To SEE. To FEEL.

Thanks again for the 'iceberg ahead' warning!

Bill
 

Mike Bull

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I would not be totally against the retrieval of an anchor or some hull plates, once they had come loose from the ship itself, but the thing that absolutely must not be allowed to start is the systematic pulling/cutting/tearing off of parts of the ship as she is now. Once this has started, there will bo no stopping it. Rip off a few plates here, cut the starboard side hole open further to gain better entry, take capstans off the bow, etc etc-where would it stop?
 

Bill Willard

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I agree. The fragility of the bow is obvious. If you detach one anchor, a system in equilibrium is suddenly changed, which will lead to stresses that cannot be calculated.

The Big Piece was a detached, isolated piece in the debris field.

What do you fell about the recovery of artifacts inside the bow?
 
Mar 13, 2000
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mr bull i was wondering where did you get the information about removing things from the bow of the titanic i shudder at the fact that if this happpens it could cause the bow part to collapse further and there would be nothing left of the bow of the ship that would be recongized after all it is the most reconginizable part of the ship today and i think it would be a big mistake if this was to happen so i would say to the people who are trying to make it happen to please reconsider this and leave the bow the was it is now jennifer mueller
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Objectively speaking, about the only way I can think of that RMSTI could recover an anchor and minimize the risk of collapse from unequal weight distribution is to cut the chains to both at the same time. Obviously, this would require submersibles to operate in extremely close proximity to the wreck...as in right on the bow!
eh.gif


Talk about playing Russian Roulette with an automatic pistol! If RMSTI goes ahead with a stunt like this, the Titanic may yet claim some more victems.
mad.gif


Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 

Bill Willard

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Michael, the plan called for an unmanned ROV (based on the Expedition Plan) to use some type of diamond tipped blade and sever a link of the chain on the deck of the bow near where it enters the hawser.

Unless one is done, then the other quickly, it could set off tremendous cascading failure throughout the underpinings of the deck, as you suggest.

This is one reason we thought this plan was disasterous.

BW
 

Tad G. Fitch

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Dear Bill,
Hello, how are you doing?

"In 100 years, what will the residents of this planet think when the question arises: "They had the opportunity to rescue those items for us, but why didn't they do it?" With so many other recoveries such as the Hunley and the Monitor, why should Titanic be excluded?"

Without getting into a full blown discussion on salvage/anti-salvage, I must disagree with your opinion, although I respect it. The difference between raising items from the Titanic, and raising items from the Monitor and Hunley, is that while valuable archeological information can be learned from the recovery of items from the Monitor and Hunley, little information of great significance has been learned from the items raised from the Titanic. Sure, the letters from inside suitcases and such are interesting, but they have not lead to any breakthroughs about the sinking, or helped us learn anything about the ship itself or the Edwardian period. The plans and construction of the ship are well known facts, as are details of life in the Edwardian Era, and any insight into how the ship sank or broke apart could have been performed by explorations and detailed archeological mapping of the wreck on the ocean floor. Raising a teacup or bottle from the ship does not help us learn anything about the ship that we did not already know. It only sank in 1912, much too recent to provide much information of any valid archeological value. A teacup or bottle from then is the same as now, whether it is sitting on the ocean floor, or whether people are spending money to see it sitting in a glass case. In fact, it is clear that much of the raising has been done for money purposes only, and many of the items have not been preserved properly or ever displayed publicly, and for the most part, the detailed reports of the debris field and the wreck learned on expeditions have never been released to the public, or even to many Titanic researchers. On the other hand, there is much of value that can be learned from raising the Hunley and Monitor. First of all, little concrete evidence existed about the exact construction and technical aspects of these extremely important historical ships, both of which were breakthrough in maritime technology. Raising these vessels has produced valuable information on the first successful submarine and how it worked, and on the first vessel with a working gun turret. In my opinion, raising items from the Titanic would be no different from raising items from the Bismark, Hood or the Arizona, since little valid archeological or historical information would be learned from such actions to justify them. This is just my opinion though, and I'm know everyone will not agree with it.
All my best,
Tad Fitch
 

Mike Bull

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Jennifer, the intention to remove an anchor- and interfere with the bow in other ways-was I believe part of the original plan for the 2000 expediton before they were banned from doing so in the courts.

With regards to removing things from inside the bow without actually damaging it-yeah right, like RMS Titanic Inc. have always been so forthcoming with wreck footage anyway? They can do what they please, who will ever know?

One last, possibly controversial thought...while I would NOT wish a horrible death upon anybody, has it crossed anyone elses' mind that should a sub crew be lost while fiddling about with the Tiatnic, it would kind of serve them right..? I'm going to run and hide now I've said that!
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Hi Mike, as RMSTI clearly wanted to avoid adding to the death toll 88 years after the fact, you have the reason Bill mentioned for using an ROV to do the actual dirty work.

I sure as hell wouldn't want to try in with a manned submersible!

Bill, if RMSTI decides it simply must go through with this, might you suggest they find a way to cut both at the same time? Sounds safer that way. Not that I would favour such an operation, but if it can't be stopped, then the potential damage should at least be minimized.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 

Joshua Gulch

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...should a sub crew be lost while fiddling about with the Tiatnic, it would kind of serve them right..?

Mike,
The way I see it, it you play with fire, sooner or later you're gonna get burned.

But that's probably just me.

Josh.
 

Bill Willard

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Michael, if the opportunity arises for me to do what you mentioned, it has to be a practical alternative to the 2000 plans.

Hi Tad, and thanks for a well written 'argument' in the literary sense. You have valid points. Before 1985, there was little in the way of Titanic books beyond ANTR. Look at what has happened since. We HAVE learned so much. Look at the volumes of information shared on this board. I wonder how many of these people would still be here IF Ballard had not been successful, notr had any successors? Cameron's idea for his movie came from the NG video.

Instead, I have been to Memphis, Norfolk, Boston, Chicago, Baltimore, and Nashville. I go in each exhibit knowing what has been recovered, knowing the people who recovered it, and knowing the story - as you said - much of what has been learned. Each artifact personalizes this story for me. I was mesmerized by ANTR, and I'm in total awe when I read books by these wonderful story-tellers, but to see these pieces of history makes this story tangible for me.

From the 2000 Expedition, we learned about Marion Meanwell and Adolphus Saalfeld. Which third class passenger will we find out about next? Who will Senan Molony have to dig up information on next? Or will it be a mystery, such as Howard Irwin's story (which we know because his bag was recovered. Ask Dave Shuttle)?

The Hunley recovery is an incredible operation. The Bennett/Dixon gold piece story is itself worth investigating.

It's nice to see a respectful dialogue. Most people think it's war with the salvage/anti-salvage partisans. But for me, to sit in a room with Edith Haisman's father's watch (Mr. Brown), and a cup perhaps held by Captain Smith himself, and to see the little cherub from the aft staircase... I'm there, even if only in spirit and memory. It's now real to me. Only in Chicago did I not get emotionally overwhelmed at an exhibit.

For Mike: before you run and hide, did you know Pat Clyne left some of Mel Fisher's ashes at the telemotor on his dive? He surely did. Rumor is that the ashes have been 'moved' to a more appropriate place, but it goes to show you that many don't have the same respect for the wreck that some do.

Bill
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Thanks Bill. I just hope they have the sense to heed the advice. If the expidition which attempts this mucks this one up, RMSTI will likely regret it in a very big way. The bad publicity will be murder!

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
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