Salvaging other ships Does it cause controversy

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Andrew Parodi

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I have never really paid much attention to any ships other than Titanic, so I really don't know. But it seems to me that there really has never been much fuss about bringing back artifacts from ships other than Titanic. Someone mentioned, for instance, the Ballard - very opposed to salvaging artifacts from Titanic - has himself salvaged artifacts from ancient ship wrecks.

So, what I was wondering is if it is just the enormous popularity of Titanic and its symbolic importance that makes salvaging of Titanic such a hot topic.
 

Steve Smith

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Mar 20, 2011
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Andrew -

The thing about ancient shipwrecks is that they are very impersonal - we really don't know the people involved, and their very age means makes salvage more of an archaeological exercise with things to be learned about ship construction etc. With a modern wreck there are relatives of the victims to consider and the anti-salvage argument (hotly disputed around these parts) tends to be when we have photos, plans and eye-witness accounts of the vessel that we're not really learning anything new by bringing up artifacts. Most Naval vessels are off-limits to salvage or even exploration as they've been declared War Graves... and I think there'd be a huge outcry if articles were salvaged from any civilian wreck where large loss of life occured: for instance the Estonia. The only exception might be if the aim of salvage was to retrieve bodies.

Having said all that a large quantity of gold was salvaged from HMS Edinburgh in the 80's without any outcry, and similarly from the liner Egypt in the 30's... so I suppose there's no hard and fast answer.
 

Erik Wood

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Apr 10, 2001
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Salvage in any context in which folks where lost during the event is a touchy issue in my opinion. One that I try to stay out of for the most part. I relate it by saying the following. If my wife was a sailor and her ship went down and she passed on, would I want somebody not necessarily interested in retreiving her remains but for the "glory" or money involved in the salvage?? My answer is probably not. By the same token I have asked my wife that question. She replies that she would prefer to have my body rest where it fell.

Having said all that, there is some value in salvage of ancient shipwrecks and sometimes in wrecks of today or even this century. But is the value of learning more valuable then the value of preserving the area where folks have died??

Another hard question. As Steve said there sis no easy answer.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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With really ancient wrecks, this doesn't present much of a problem because there is nobody around who has any sort of emotional attachment to the wreck, and also because it's easy to justify on the grounds that we don't know a lot about a particular era.

An arguement put forward against salvage/exploration of the Titanic is that we know quite a bit about that era and that there's little more to learn. I can't say as I quite buy into that one, especially in light of what was learned about the ship during the Cameron Expedition of 2001. Quite a bit was learned then that can't be found in any archive anywhere. The actual arrangement of the Marconi system being one of them, and other details of the internal arrangements which will quite literally be rewriting the history books.

How many more surprises does the wreck hold? It would seem that we don't know quite what we think we know. The only way we can learn is to go down and have a closer look.
 
Aug 14, 2007
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Reviving an old thread here.

I went to the Titanic exhibit in Idaho today and saw many items that I have never seen before, and got goosebumps at every one. And I started to think:

Why is it ok to salvage and sell items from the Lusitania, or the Empress of Ireland (each suffered their own great loss of life, and the Empress even has skeletal remains.). And yet we can't even salvage much of anything from the Titanic. It breaks my heart that her artifacts will soon fall to the forces of nature and be lost forever, and also lose what we could still learn of her story. Not trying to start a debate, but there seems to be a double standard here?

Can anyone say why? In no way to be disrespectful, but what makes the victims of this disaster more special than the others?

The Titanic is my second love after my wife and I would hate to see these things disappear, it seems like it would be a greater tribute to her survivors, and her victims to preserve these items for as long as we can.
 
The thing that gets me is when people say that it is a grave site and it is disrespectful to disturb the final resting place of those lives. I am not disagreeing that it is a grave site, but when we go to Egypt and go through actual tombs and put bodies on display, I don't see how that is any less disrespectful. I understand that there are no relatives, etc that have any attachment to the actual remains. And we can learn from it. It is still just as disrespectful, if not more. But from my point of view, I would rather preserve as much of it as we can then let it disintegrate into nothing. I agree with Craig on this one.
On the other hand salvage operations to the ship have hurt certain things on the wreck, i.e. the crow’s nest. (Although I am not saying that it was or was not caused by outside influences because I personally have not seen the footage I have read about on this site.) But I digress; it is an odd debate that will probably never end. Just to be clear, I’m not trying to step on anyone’s toes. This is simply my opinion, and should be taken with a grain of salt.

Thanks for your time
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Kendra
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>Can anyone say why?<<

Objectively speaking: Sentimentality.

There's quite a bit attatched to the Titanic which one rarely sees with most others. Mind you, I'm not making any value judgements as to whether or not the sentimentality is well founded or not. I merely observe that it's there.
 
Aug 14, 2007
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Michael I was hoping you would weigh in
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I just wonder if sentimentality is worth losing so much of her and what we can still learn. For me it's not. There probably isn't a real way to settle this debate, but it just bugs me to no end. And I was just hoping to hear from people with more wisdom and experience with this than I - so thank you for responding.

I have a feeling that in 20, 50, 100 years later when she's gone, people are going to regret it.
 
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>>I just wonder if sentimentality is worth losing so much of her and what we can still learn. For me it's not.<<

I don't think it is either, though maybe not for entirely the same reasons. It's not the artifacts which in and of themselves which are of any major concern to me, though for others, their priorities are most likely to be very different from mine.

My own interest is the forensics angle, and there are some rankling mysteries which have no chance of being explained by any means other then a detailed exploration of the wreck. This need not always mean recovery. James Cameron showed what could be done without touching a thing just by going down and documenting everything in sight. The History Channel people who went down a few years ago did the same and managed to accomplish quite a bit just by taking photos.

The wreck still has a lot to say, but the only way she'll have her chance to speak is to go back down there and keep looking.
 
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I agree 100%. Maybe I'm stuck on the artifacts because I recently got back from seeing one of the exhibits with some artifacts I've never seen before. Which program were you talking about from The History Channel, was it "Titanic Final Moments"?

Do you know of any plans for future dives? I also love how they learn new things every time they go down. Not sure if you've ever seen "Last Mysteries of the Titanic" but I was just as excited as Don Lynch and Ken Marschall when they first went into Turkish Bath and the First Class Stateroom.
 
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>>Which program were you talking about from The History Channel, was it "Titanic Final Moments"? <<

Missing Pieces actually.

>>Do you know of any plans for future dives?<<

'Fraid not. Some rumours running around, mostly on forums, but I'm afraid it's more wishful thinking then reality. The official word is that there is no official word.
 
Mar 12, 2013
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the the plans to salvage the titanic made 1966 see history of ships part 52 by allan douglas and book titanic for dumies,,titanic found by fatham line and seawise and titanic salvage 1978/9 see now mag,,,,,contracts made in jersey c i to salvage by salvors ltd kinggs ley and hamilton and salvage of qe1-seawise records held in hong kong made viset to hong kong 1974 to hav talks with mr c y tung and uthers on the salvage of the qe1and titanic,, plans confermd at avon court hotel london uktrip to hong kong bact by salvors ltd of jersey c i pland by tery matz///dives made on qe1 in hong kong 5 years a go with help of china T V coventry for salvage of same report confered she is most still ther,,//..now we r seeing into a mr chui from china to see if he will back the necstsage via mr m w canoi canoi ltd total cost 18mil pounds,,//..test made in budapest for lifts on both,,R M S TITANIC INC hav no legal clames on titanic and mr g m harris made trets on me to smash my legs reports sent to u s press in orland and u s embasy in london and us courts,,d j f-w,,//..