Good point. But surely if the Russians do go to the wreck and engage in activity contrary to the treaty, they would be potentially liable for some type of sanction that may outweigh going there in the first place.......also maybe the countries to the treaty, and in particular Canada if it signs on, could refuse to service or provision Russian (or other) vessels should they engage in inappropriate behaviour.
I know you have tremendous knowledge and strong views on this matter and I would be happy to hear your thoughts.
The Federal Court in Norfolk has determined that RMST would be salvor in possession, but Gavin, as you know well, the Haver case opened the site to numerous visitors from sightseers to a wedding to a rogue expedition. I fear that a treaty between countries will have no more affect than the current court orders.
I talked with a producer working on a Titanic special for National Geographic and told him basically the same thing.
The Artemis, for example, is an outstanding photograph released from the Ballard expeditions in 85-86. Yet, it is gone. Had it been recovered by Tulloch (and subsequently Geller in 2000) this piece is a tremendous exhibit piece, so RMST wouldn't hide the recovery of it. But it's not down there. No one has seen it since Ballard.
Where is it? There is a strong theory. It would have to be either a Nautile recovery, (but they've only dived with Tulloch) an Alvin recovery, (but that would mean Ballard recovered something, and I don't think for a minute Ballard took anything) or it was a MIR recovery.
The evidence of the rogue expedition is too strong even with the orders of the court to make me believe the Titanic site, three days from Boston, a day and a half from St. John's, and then two and a half miles down, can be protected by paper documents.
I think next to the Artemis statue the one debris field item from 85-86 that remains maddeningly elusive are the Grand Staircase balustrades that were photographed by the unmanned cameras and which have never been seen on any submersible dives.
Another item that immediately comes to mind is the doll face seen by Ballard. I've never heard of it being seen by RMSTI, but I've never seen it since we all heard about it in 85-86.
I would propose a joint venture by Ballard and RMSTI, presided over by a neutral party to compare the 85-86 footage, RMSTI's expedition footage (from numerous expeditions) and the recent 2004 footage. I would expect much more is missing, or has changed, and by analyzing the dates the neutral party can deduce damage versus nature, analyze rate of decay, etc.. But this idea has the proverbial snowball's chance of ever happening.