Should we leave the Titanic to be crushed or not


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Neil McRae

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I can definately understand the view of Titanic wreck site as being hallowed ground. On the other hand, as the forces found at the bed of the Atlantic slowly but surely wear away at the ship, I can't help but wonder if something shouldn't be done to preserve the remains of the ship.

While there might still be some things worth looking at down there, I suspect the value will be significantly diminshed once the major structures are gone.
 

Dan Cherry

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The Titanic is little more than a pile of rusted metal, dangerously fragile in many spots. If I am not mistaken, 20-25% of the hull's inch thick plates have been surrendered to the sea. That's about 1/4 inch of metal, which is what the upper superstructure's metal is comprised of. Holes are opening up everywhere on the A-deck plating and boat deck. We have been fortunate over the past 15 years to document the exterior and interior of the liner through film, photographs and even artifact recovery, but the physical being of Titanic is going fast - no ifs, buts, mights or maybes about it. There's no reason or way to attempt to preserve the hull. Most of it would crumble to dust if disturbed, if the technology and finances even existed to take on such a venture.
 

Nigel Bryant

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It's such a pity though how she is falling appart. It's hard to imagine that one day Titanic will not exist, only by photographs, films,drawings & paintings, stage showsand websites and fourms. Olympic has gone, Titanic will soon be then the last of the class, Britannic will to eventually met the same fate as her older sister. But I guess we have to appreiate how long Titanic has lasted and hopefully there will be more expeditions in future to visit (like the Turkish Baths) before she totally falls apart. 100 years atleast is quite a long time. But once the wreck has gone Titanic will still live on. As Walter Lord said " Titanic has never been more with us than now" a statement I totally agree with.

Best,

Nigel
 

Don Tweed

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Where she now rests is her home and it should remain so.
Who knows what may be revealed when she does collapse?
Perhaps more artifacts and riddles may be retrieved and solved.
Also, I wonder how well the hull that is buried in the sand has stood the test of time?
I bet she still will give up more of her secrets as time and technology marches on.

Best reguards, Don
 
Jun 10, 1999
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Yes indeed...the superstructure is departing us at an estimated rate of 200 lbs. a day!

It's those hungry little micro-organisms!

Michael A. Cundiff
USA
 

Steve Smith

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Titanic hasn't really "existed" since April 1912 - What remains is a corpse. Any pathologist will tell you we can learn a huge amount from a corpse - but doesn't there come a point when it's time to leave that corpse (and the fifteen hundred others in and around it) in peace?
I think reading through the reports of every collapse, every loss of another piece of the structure year after year as it gradually dissolves will be heartbreaking - and personally I think that process is happening faster than any technology that may help us learn more about the wreck is being developed: in other words by the time the technology to explore further is available - the ship won't be. Shouldn't we draw a line?

Titanic WILL always be with us - as the beautiful, graceful thing she was. That's enough for me.
 

Erik Wood

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Steve said: "Titanic hasn't really "existed" since April 1912 - What remains is a corpse."

Well said Steve. That is thought that most sailors follow, including myself.
 

Erik Wood

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This is and always will be a touchy issue. I think Steve put it very nicely. I think you and I (speaking more for myself then you) are interested in the technical aspects of the ship.
 

Steve Smith

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Michael and Eric

What do you think, realistically, we can still learn with the current technology and the state of the wreck? Are there specific aspects of the ship's design / construction or details of the sinking that you think are likely to be uncovered - and would they radically alter our understanding of what happened?

Unless we treat the wreck as an archaeologist would and strip it back deck by deck to uncover every single secret - which is obviously never going to happen - then surely there has to be a point where there's simply nothing new worth finding and it's best just to leave the wreck in peace.

I'd be very interested in your thoughts!
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Steve, we really don't know until we look.

An example of how a close look can be revealing is James Cameron's expedition last year, which beyond question is the single most thorough internal survey of the wreck done by anyone. The information retrieved will literally be rewriting the books, especially in regards the differences between the Titanic and the Olympic which turned out to far more extensive then anyone suspected.

And to think, all they did was take pictures.

It would be nice if any future expeditions could do some imaging of the side and bottom below the mudline so we could see the true extent of the damage, and even better if we could figure out how to differentiate between impact damage with the bottom and the damage caused by the iceberg. Anyone who could pull that off would be retreiving data that would be priceless from the standpoint of the actual forensics.

but...we have to go and take a look.

We better do it soon too. The condition of the wreck is not improving, and each day that passes magnifies the risk that information which might otherwise be gleaned will be lost forever.
 

Erik Wood

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For the most part I agree with what Mike said. I think we could gain a certain amount of knowledge by getting into the boiler rooms at the forward end. If we could some how get through the mud line and take a look at where the keel broke we could also gain alot of information.

Just some passing thoughts.
 
S

Scott R. Andrews

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Steve,

My thoughts are pretty much the same as those of Mike and Capt. Erik. There are still technical questions regarding both the ship's construcion and her demise that could use answers.

Regarding the latter, one question in particular that has not been answered with any certainty regards the closing of the manually operated horizontal sliding watertight doors in the vicinity of the Turkish Bath complex on F deck. A number of passengers observed the crew's efforts to close one door in particular, struggling to close this door from with a T-wrench via the remote shaft in the deck plating above on E deck. According to the accounts of both the Harders and the Bishops, these crewmen eventually gave up, stating that "...it's no use. This one won't work. Let's try another one", or words to that effect. While the end result would have been the same whether this door remained open or not, this could help to answer some nagging questions which remain regarding the progression of flooding within the ship.

Regards,

Scott Andrews
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Having those doors open certainly wouldn't have helped matters. Three possibilities occur to me here.
1)The people trying to close them didn't really know what they were doing. (It happens and a lot more frequently then one might suspect!)
2)The doors and/or the mechenism were defective.
3)The structure was distorted somehow by the collision/allasion with the berg so that they were jammed in place.

Anyone care to place any bets?
 

Steve Smith

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Michael and Erik:



I suppose what's in my mind is that actually or symbolically the ship is a grave for 1500 people.
I know - It's that old chestnut again! It's been chewed over ad infinitum but I do think there needs to be a balance. I'll be first in the queue for Cameron's DVD... I can't wait. I'd LOVE to see the area of impact as you both mention. That would also be totally fascinating and well worth doing... but the things left to discover will inevitably become more and more incidental.
I just fear that somewhere down the line some future salvor is going to be burrowing into the guts of the wreck, destroying everything in their way, on a desperate quest to confirm once and for all exactly what sort of door knobs were used on "E" deck, or something similar. If all we're uncovering is minutiae, that to me is when we need to remember the bigger picture and leave the remains in peace.

And do I honestly think the wreck ever WILL be left alone? Hell no!
 

Jason D. Tiller

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Michael,

Those are good possibilities. I'm gonna go with #2.

Anyone else?

Best regards,

Jason
happy.gif
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Steve, the question that goes begginghere is what is minutae? The smallest clues...which might be meaningless to a deckplate sailor such as myself may well speak volumns to a qualified engineer.

As to the site being a grave, I don't think there's anything symbolic about it.

It is a grave, at least for the 1200 or so that may well have gone all the way to the bottom. The question is whether or not it's appropriate to go through the thing in our search for answers. I don't think there's an easy answer to that one. So long as future expeditions don't do a careless hatchet job and treat the site with the appropriate respect, I don't have a problem with it. Others do, and I respect their reasons for it.

My big concern however is what sort of risks are being taken while nosing around and inside the wreck. The Titanic's condition is getting worse every day, and sooner or later, somebody is going to have an accident with consequences that will be...to put it mildly...unfortunate.

Poking around a decaying shipwreck is not for amatures or the foolish.
 

Steve Smith

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Michael -

".....As to the site being a grave, I don't think
there's anything symbolic about it..."

I agree with you entirely. I used the word symbolic because one of the arguements used by those who want to penetrate the wreck is "the bodies aren't there - most people died in the water".





".....The Titanic's condition is getting worse every day, and sooner or later, somebody is going to have an accident...."

Agreed again: And imagine if that happened: I bet then there WOULD be calls for the wreck to be left alone... out of respect for those two or three "modern" deaths if not the 1500 "old" ones!





".....So long as future expeditions don't do a careless hatchet job and treat the site with the appropriate respect..."


That's the $64,000 question.... and the point I've been trying to make. What is "appropriate" respect?
Where do we draw the line?

I think there is no realistic answer that everyone's going to agree on.


Steve
 
Jun 10, 1999
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Michael S.

A bit pesimistic it would seem on your part in regards to diving on the wreck. Deep-Sea submersible diving is a risk in itself from the moment the sub is dropped into the ocean, yet alone manuevering a treacherous wrecksite like the TITANIC at 6500 lbs. p.s.i. water pressure. What was it I read that a sesoned Frenchman said while diving aboard NAUTILE, at TITANIC's stern? Something to this effect..."It is in the worse condition of any wreck that I have seen, and I have seen plenty of warship wreckages".

No I think all the proper safety measures are in order (ex. severing method for trapped ROV) and the folks piloting the deep-sea submersibles are the best in their field.

BTW, have a look see at NAUTILE's over 100 unprecendented dives with out so much as a glitch!

Dive on my brave submariners...dive on!!

Michael A. Cundiff
USA
 
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