RMSTI to Relinquish or not Salvage Rights


Dec 2, 2000
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I caught wind of this on one of the mailing lists and thought I would pass it on. This article appeared in the Virginian Pilot Online.

NORFOLK -- The company that has been salvaging the Titanic shipwreck since 1987 may give up its salvage rights, according to legal papers filed in Norfolk's federal court.

Citing recent setbacks, R.M.S. Titanic said it ``is in the process of re-evaluating its plans to conduct further salvage on the wreck,'' the company told Norfolk judges in a report filed last week.

If R.M.S. Titanic bows out, or if Norfolk judges revoke the company's salvage rights for abandoning the wreck, it could prompt an international race among potential salvors to see who can get to the world's most famous shipwreck first.

For the rest, go to http://www.pilotonline.com/news/nw0821tit.html

Opinion: I know that there is a wide diversity of opinion on RMSTI, including those who wish they would just go away. The question that goes begging is if they do go away, what then becomes of the wreck if she is left wide open to other aspiring salvors. We may end up finding out a lot sooner then we think.
 

Connie Hedges

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Apr 14, 2002
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I'm afraid if the wreck is open to aspiring salvors, she will soon resemble a turkey after Thanksgiving dinner...just bones. I wouldn't be surprised to find even pieces of the ship's hull would be brought up and sold. Even chopped up and put in jewelry and things. It really bothers me. I'm for putting artifacts from the debris field in a museum but think the ship and interior should be left alone. I will admit to wishing they could salvage some of the mail. What stories it could tell. That is personal property however, so is probably best left alone. If RMSTI gives up its rights the vultures will circle all right.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Yep, the vultures will circle allright, and then they'll move in for supper, and the damage will be depressing to say the least. I don't think they'll make the sort of shortwork of the hull you may believe though. The problem here is resources plain and simple. There are currently only six submersibles in the world capable of diving to those depths, none of which are really designed for salvage, they're bloody expensive to operate, and with only a few months out of the year where diving is a practical proposition, (read that to mean "safe".) the window of opportunity is a bit small.

This doesn't mean they can't do some damage though, some of which will almost certainly destroy evidence that just might be critical to understanding the forensics of the sinking itself.

I know that a lot of people love to hate RMSTI, but are the alternatives going to be an improvement?

I wouldn't bet the farm on it!
 

Steve Smith

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Mar 20, 2011
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That's scary...

Would there be NO legal protection for the wreck at all if RMSTI relinquished??

I've forgotten over the years - On what grounds were the legal restrictions first placed on RMSTI? Was it as a condition of it being granted salvage rights? If so could the courts not place similar restrictions on any new salvor?

As Michael says - better the Arnie Geller you know than the devil you don't. Let's hope this doesn't come to pass.
 
Dec 6, 2000
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Considering the flack that RMSTI got when Tulloch was in charge, how much worse was it when Tulloch was gone?

And how much worse, without ANY RMTI?
 
Apr 11, 2001
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I would imagine any future salvor would have to go throught similar channels to be granted sole rights. I had to appear at one of the court sessions in Norfolk at the beginning. First, there must be abandonment of the wreck, failure to dive (and salvage every other year would constitute abandonment)would be established, another expedition or individual would need to retrieve some artifact from the wreck to lay claim, then this party would have to demonstrate facilities for retrieval and conservation procedures and detail to the satisfaction of the court, intended venues for exhibit and housing of the artifacts recovered. Mike is right, the cost is outrageous, both in the legal fees involved, the actual technology of getting out there and getting things up, the storage and conservation process which is astronomical, the publicity and promotion of exhibitions and all that goes with that- the costs are staggering. I fear several vulture-type companies may form a conglomeration to salvage, and pool resources to be able to bear the expense. It is possible several well-heeled investors will back an expedition with thoughts to profits resulting from sale of artifacts. One can only pray Clarke's ruling to keep retrieved items in a collection, and not put on the auction block is upheld. I was sure that one day George Tulloch would be appreciated for the gentle man he is and was - his vision was to rescue a representative collection of Titanic artifacts and house them in a museum for us all and future generations. The collection was to remain intact, and available for viewing in convenient travelling locations of major cities everywhere and ultimately rest in a major city museum. For that desire and dream he was mercilessly shredded beyond all human decency- I will live to see him vindicated.
 

Jason D. Tiller

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Dec 3, 2000
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This scarces me, in fact it terrifies me.

I agree, they will do a lot of damage to the wreck and it won't be pretty. As Michael says, it is terribly expensive with all the costs involved.

As much as I can't stand RMSTI with Arnie Gellar at the helm, I'd rather have him their than to see this happen.

I hope it doesn't come to this.

Best regards,

Jason
happy.gif
 
Mar 3, 1998
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The Mirs are entering into a mandatory 18-month maintenance standdown. Don't expect much in a practical sense to happen around the wreck during that time.

>If it comes to that I will go down there and tie my self to the wreck.

Erik, then who would clean up the bloody stain you would be leaving on the wreck? :)

Parks
 

Erik Wood

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Apr 10, 2001
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When I wrote that I hadn't taken into consideration the depth. Perhaps I could pay someone to take a dummy of me and tie to the ship??? Of course a dummy or me what's the difference as my wife would say.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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One thing we might need to be wary of is who the potential claimants to the wreck would be and what courts they would go through. It would be nice if some of the governments mentioned in the news story would get that treaty together to prevent molestation of the wreck, but what if a would be salvor goes to the admiralty courts of another nation not a party to the treaty which could claim jurisdiction?

Do any of the legal eagles here have any insights to offer on that?
 
Mar 15, 2001
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Its amazing how the story of Titanic never ends. I have never participated in any debates concerning Titanics salvage because I have always felt middle of the road. While I have always enjoyed seeing the artifacts from the Titanic, I have always genuinely felt like it was a gravesite. I hope international law will protect the site.
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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I wonder whether any potential salvors will be interested. They can no longer ride on the back of Cameron's movie and the venture could be very unprofitable. Did RMS Titanic ever show a profit?
 

John Clifford

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Now the only thing we need is for that couple who chose to be married on the bow, to return in a submersible, and stay there, picking up an item, from time to time. That could settle two previous discussions: the complaints about last year's publicity stunt and the salvage debate.

Another alternative is to have "Linus Van Pelt" and "Lady Crankshaft", from central New England, go down there instead, in a submersible, to make their "no more salvage" claims permanent, and "shoo off" potential salvors.
 

John Clifford

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I forgot "the other alternative", which would resolve a current event, but we might have to cover part of the cost:
We send MARTHA down to the site: she's responsible for picking up one piece, per year, to protect her claim, and she can use the time to advise us on "the proper way to care for our salvaged artifacts".

Besides, Arnie and Friends might gain invaluable advice on "making the most of your 2 1/2 hour ascents and descents".

At least one of my family members would be willing to contribute to a "Send MARTHA To The TITANIC" Fund.
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JC
 
Jan 29, 2001
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Hello:

It seems to me so distasteful, a previous outspoken anti-salvage person, and prominent member of THS to make pun at at issue which has for many of us, been one of despair.

There is only one obstacle that I had hoped could be overcome. If anything whatsoever, that is worth reclaiming from the abyss, that of course would be the contents of the mail hold.

My Mother has always instilled upon me..."Everything happens for a reason!". So just maybe, upon impact with the sea bottom, TITANIC'S fore starboard plates breeched a 30' access for reason. Perhaps the newly discovered life species dubbed, "Pink Shag Carpet" is standing watch over those precious burlap mail sacks...bekoning aloud of the invaluable resoures of which it encapulates.

Beings that I am a man of faith, I will muster all of my hope that someone the likes of James Cameron, with his right hand man Mr. Ken Marschall, clusterd about in a deep-sea submersible sphere, will saunter about, seeking out a significant artifact which will lay claim to salvor in possesion.

Knowing of Ken's stupendous memorabila holdings, I am curious to know that, if allowed, what piece would he recover from the TITANIC wrecksite as an inclusion to his papable reverence to TITANIC?

Me, I would cherish the 1st class vase, red in color with gilt handles. Two were recovered from the debris field by RMSTI (Tulloch's tenure). TIME magazine (late '87) first featured the vase in pictorial. Then again it reapperaed in Jennifer Carter's "Titanic Adventure"...

...and TIFFANY thought they had one up on us. Imagine those well-to-do Antiquarians, presented with a 1st class vase from TITANIC, bearing impervious provenance. Imagine that appraiser's futile attempts to equate..."The last one sold at auction", and even, "We have one in our shop priced at..."

Who should dare denote a monetary denomination to
a TITANIC artifact? If they can not always stand as a whole, in sorrowful testament to an act which played out 14-15 April 1912...then let them be destroyed!

Michael A. Cundiff
USA
 
Jan 29, 2001
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P.S.

Imagine the look on Martha's face when you inform her the serious business of deep-sea submersible diving. For just a pinhole of a leak...lasting just a millisecond...would severe her bones in two! Or maybe, as with a deep-sea submersible crew from WHOI...Martha might become the innocent *observer* of a deep-sea submersible trapped on the ocean bottom...

...may as well be trapped on the moon!

(BTW, the deep-sea submersible crew from WHOI mentioned above...they all died!!)

Michael A. Cundiff
USA
 

Kyrila Scully

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Apr 15, 2001
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Something I have not seen addressed here is what will become of the items already salvaged? Will this allow Gellar more leeway in his attempts to sell them? It seems to me that Gellar never does anything that will not ultimately benefit himself.

Kyrila
 

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