Those who talk of salvaging Britannic, or any other big ship, should recall that it has proved impractical to salvage the recently sunk Tricolor intact. She's not even fully submerged at low tide. Salvage can be a very expensive way of getting a few thousand tons of scrap steel.
There are exceptions to every rule. About the war grave thing. Since no one actualy went down with her and everyone who died because of it died on the surface or away from the ship she does not legally a "grave". About the Brittanic being in a major shipping lane. Well getting ships to alter thier course by a few hundred feet shouldn't be impossible. And Simon Mills well, eventualy someone else has got to own it as he can't own it forever. Maybe the next owner would like salvage. And the thing about being an expensive way to get scrap metal. Well, im sure that the public would pay good money to see Titanic's semi-lookalike sister in drydock. Im also sure that the right investors will know that.It will cost a-LOT of money but im sure it will return it if it is on display.
*PS. Do not take the Simon Mills comment as a threat as I have no intention of making it sound that way. I am mearly stating the fact that eventualy he will become unable to own the wreck for whatever reason it may be (sickness, money problems, or death (god forbid any one of these))
Well, there is an account that states that a crewman got stuck in an elevator and did not survive..
Don't know if that would be accepted as 'proof' as it's only 1 account, but the 4th Officer did state it.
I'm afraid that it is untrue to state that the ship is 'not legally a "grave"', Chris. The Britannic wreck is in fact an officially designated war grave.
The cost of salvaging the ship would be absolutely breathtaking, even if it were technologically feasible given the size and condition of the wreck. Then there is the ongoing cost of conservation. How much could you charge visitors to visit a shell? And the cost of preservation is ongoing...year after year after year. Historic ships are lost every year because the money cannot be found to maintain them - and they're a good deal smaller than the Britannic, and haven't been sitting on the sea floor for decades!
Simon Mills purchased the wreck at a time when the sale of war wrecks was permitted - I consider it very fortunate that someone who has such a passion and understanding of the subject was the person to buy it. He's a fitting caretaker. Such sales will not take place in the future, although I am curious as to what the legal status of the wreck will be after Simon. Simon told us about the attitude of the Greek authorities when he gave a talk at the THS Convention in 2000, and I've read about it in dive magazines - they take protection of the wreck very seriously. Permission to even dive the wreck must be obtained from both Simon and the Greek Authorities. I doubt they'd be keen on seeing it shifted.
Chris, the question isn't really whether or not the ship can be raised. The technology is certainly within reach if it doesn't exist in bits and peices already.
The question is; Why bother? It's not for nothing that salvage is termed a good way to turn a large fortune into a small one.
A very small one!
Nobody...and I do mean nobody is going to make the enormous investment in manpower, materials, ships, equipment and money that would be required for such a project unless there's a reasonable hope of getting a decent return on the investment. That's just not going to happen with a gutted shell that's been underwater for close to 90 years, the costs for which raising and conserving would be staggering.
And what popularity? Outside of the communities of liner researchers and maritime historians, you would be amazed at how few people know the Britannic even existed...much less even care. In any event, since the ship is registered as a war grave, you can bet that your chances of even gaining all the permissions needed for such a project are so close to zero that the difference isn't worth mentioning.
Addendum: You may wish to click on and read Museums No More for a listing of naval vessels which have come and gone as museums and ended up in the scrapyard or the target range for lack of funds to keep them up. This sobering peice is a nasty little reality check on the difficulties that don't go away.
How much will it cost in estimate? I did all the costs on a sheet of paper and it came out to about 10 billon. Im sure tht if I work hard enough I could do it. Im not saying that I could return a large profit on it. And I know that there is a large possibility that it will go belly up in a couple years. I just want to raise it. See it in a drydock just sitting there. I would rather raise her and see her broken up then see her didintagrate on the sea floor.
And who's going to pony up 10 billion to put a gutted and little known wreck in a drydock where ultimately it would have to be scrapped?
The reality is that businesspeople and the investors expect a venture where they can turn a profit for as little risk as possible. And if anyone thinks that salvage is without substantial risk, then they desperately need to do their homework. It's an extremely dangerous, time, money and labour intensive task.
Chris, if you want to know what it is you're proposing to do, then I would suggest that you get a copy of Modern Marine Salvage by William I. Milwee. I got my copy from Amazon.com. At $65.00, it's far from cheap, but as it's also a textbook on the subject, it'll give you a much better idea of what you're facing with a project like this.
I came up with an idea that a cheaper way to raise the Britannic would be to cut it into around 8 small pieces and raise each at a time. It too would be costly but much cheaper than raising one large hulk at once. Anyone got ideas on this, i'd love to hear them.
Cheaper? Hardly. In point of fact, if there was a compelling reason to raise the wreck...and there isn't...that's likely close to how it would be done. That's pretty much how it's being done with the Tricolor. After that, it would be a one way trip to the scrapyard as trying to put it together again would be out of the question.
I am posting a segment of my raise the britannic script.
Raise the Britannic
Cut to int-Britannics bridge
Captain Charles Bartlett (turning toward the ships engine telegraph) "We should make it to the island of kea in a few hours Mr. Townsend Get all nurses ready to treat the wounded
Mr. Townsend: "yes sir" A massive explosion rocks the ship.
Ship listing to starboard.
Cut to; Bridge.
Captain:’ Abandon ship"
Nurse walks in
Captain: "Ma’ams to your boat miss".
The Britannic moans a little
A Mad looking man with a mustache and beard grabs Mr. Townsend from behind and drags him to the ships half empty vault at gunpoint and the funny looking man sealed himself in
Captain: "lets try and beach her if we can make it"
Cut to the ship sinking lower as the lifeboats jerk away from the dying ship"
Cut to two boats being cut up by the still turning propellers"
Cut to: a few survivors from the smashed boats struggling to get away from the violently turning propellers.
The last boats being lowered from the giant gantry davits.
Cut to: the captain staring out the bridge window as the front of the ship disappears under the Aegean Sea.
Cut to: pan
To the bow of the ship submerging to the bridge
And the captain stepping off into the water and swimming toward the camera.
The men and women in the boats rescue the captain from the water
Cut to: the Britannic settling to the forward funnel and slowly rolls over on its starboard side and the 3 last smokestacks break away as the 882 1/2 foot long ship sinks in 300 feet of water cut to the ship landing on the bottom the stern wants to go down while the bow wants to stay stuck pointed in the mud and it finally breaks creating a large crack that nearly severs the forecastle of the ship from the other part of it
Cut to: black screen
(The raise the titanic main theme starts to play)
Credits roll on black screen
Directed by Raymond Leggs
Music by John Barry
Featuring: "Samantha Hinton
And Lauren Rostron
Based on the characters created by Clive Cussler and Raymond Leggs
Special thanks to the Titanic Research and Modeling Association
Titanic Britannic and Olympic photo montage (theme still playing)
Cut to: Ship lying on its side on the bottom of the ocean
Raise the Britannic apperas on screen