The future of Britannic

Mar 3, 1998
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The Britannic wreck lies in relatively shallow waters under the protection of the Greek government. For these reasons, among others, the wreck is in much better condition than Titanic. The Greek government, as well as the local government on Kea, is beginning to fully appreciate the value of the wreck. So, as a point of discussion, what do you think should be done with the wreck?

Suggestions have been made in the past...Ballard once proposed putting cameras on the wreck that would feed viewing monitors in a museum on Kea. Some have made the wild proposal of raising the wreck and rebuilding her as a new Titanic. Others would like to make the wreck an archaeological site, to be studied and excavated, with select recovered artefacts to be put on display. What do you think? Is there another idea worth pursuing?

Obviously, any proposal would have to gain the approval of the Greek government and in particular, their Department of Marine Antiquities. But, it never hurts to speculate and maybe let the Greek government know the feeling among historians and enthusiasts.

Parks

P.S. By the way, my personal opinion is that the wreck should be thoroughly studied and selectively excavated.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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I fully agree with you as to being completely studied with a selected amount of excavating and artifact recovery. The worse thing would be to keep it off limits and just have cameras for viewing. Live cameras would only capture the ship rotting away slowly.
 
Jan 5, 2001
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Hi!

This is an interesting topic. It's nice to focus some of our efforts on Britannic. I'd like to comment with some of my thoughts as to the proposals.

Ballard once proposed putting cameras on the wreck that would feed viewing monitors in a museum on Kea.

In my own view, it would be wonderful for people to be able to view/explore the wreck from on shore, or even over the internet. However, it would be vital that any disturbance to the wreck is kept to a minimum.

Some have made the wild proposal of raising the wreck and rebuilding her as a new Titanic.

Britannic's story is interesting on its own, in my view, without reference to her elder, more famous and inferior sister. Certainly Titanic provides a context for her, both as originally planned and then after the redesign, yet Britannic should not be considered noteworthy merely because she was the sister of one of the most famous ships in the world.

Wood once expressed this well in the New York Times:

‘How is this for a plot? The Titanic has a sister ship. Call her the Gigantic. In 1912, when the impossible happened and the “unsinkable” luxury liner struck an iceberg on her maiden voyage and went to the bottom...the Gigantic is still on the ways in a shipyard in Belfast, Ireland. Work is suspended; major design changes affected...six of the ship’s sixteen [sic] watertight compartments, her builders declare, could be flooded and the ship will still float. And, oh yes, the ship’s name is changed from Gigantic — lest it remind prospective passengers of the Titanic — to the more seemly Britannic.
‘And then in November, 1916, after just 351 days in service, the Britannic, grandest and largest liner afloat, is rent by explosions deep in her bowels and sinks…in the Aegean Sea in just fifty-five minutes.’
It is my view that the wreck should not be raised...for a range of reasons that I have outlined in the past. And, even assuming it was feasible then it would be astonishingly ignorant from a historical viewpoint to convert her into a 'Titanic.'

I see detailed exploration of the wreck as a vital component of her future. As to the idea of an underwater museum, it would be wonderful -- yet the drawback is doing so without damaging the wreck. At least, keeping any disturbance to a minimum.

Best regards,

Mark.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Another idea came to me. How about arranging for licensed tours of the wreck. There are subs built for touring undersea reefs and wrecks http://barbadosadventures.com/safety.php. Of course they have to build a boat capable of operating down to 400 ft safely. It could also become a source of revenue to fund systematic exploration and research in addition to allowing the general public access to view the site without disturbing the wreck itself.
 
Mar 3, 1998
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Certainly, tourism must be considered. Kea is starting to become more accessible to Athens (only 2 hours away now) and is therefore expecting to see a rise in tourist traffic, even after the Olympics.

Parks
 
Jan 5, 2004
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I think it wouldn´t be good to raise the Britannic. It´s just impossible.
Then the thought to convert her into a second Titanic. That sounds horrible for me. Mark said it already, the Britannic has it´s own interesting story.
 
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Steve Dever

Guest
My opinion regarding the Britannic is leave it on the bottom but if possible shift her back on to her Keel so exploration of the wreck by divers is less dangerous.Through the years many divers who have visited the wreck say that once inside the ship getting dis-oreinted is common.
My understanding is that more than one diver has died inside the Britannic(Correct me if this information is false). Setting her back on her keel would allow less experienced divers the ability to visit this amazing wreck.
At one time Dr.Robert Ballard wanted to allow Internet access to the ship through cameras mounted permanently throughout the wreck.
Princess Cruise Lines has this technology on the bridge on some of their ships allowing you to access the view from the bridge on your PC.
Steve Dever
 

Wesley Burton

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Apr 22, 2004
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Steve,
I doubt anyone can shift Britannic onto her keel without causing serious damage to the hull. The bow would almost certainly tear off.

I think Britannic should stay on the bottom. It is a british war grave. And I am sure Britannic will still be there in great condition long after Titanic has collapsed in on herself.

I would like Ballard's idea of an underwater museum becoming a reality. That way you wouldnt have to risk divers, it is a big risk they take going down.
 
Jul 11, 2001
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Roll her over? That would be like trying to pick up a birthday cake without getting any icing on your hands!

But seriously, I would think it would be more fragile than you think. Isn't the Andrea Doria already having its super structure slip off onto the ocean bed? She is also lying on her side.

I am also curious as why both are not sitting on their keels. You would think that the weight of the engines and boilers would right the ship as it sank under the water. The Titanic (which did settle upright) after having split in half, you would think of all ships would have settled funny being tossed about on the way down. Eh, just my two cents worth.

David in Hartford
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>But seriously, I would think it would be more fragile than you think. Isn't the Andrea Doria already having its super structure slip off onto the ocean bed?<<

Yep...just about down to the level of B Deck. Unfortunately, Andrea Doria hasn't had a lot of marine growth on her structure to protect it from the elements as enjoyed by the Britannic, so the rate of decay is a lot faster.

>>I am also curious as why both are not sitting on their keels. You would think that the weight of the engines and boilers would right the ship as it sank under the water.<<

Genrally, it would...if the water is deep enough for the ship to right itself after it's completely submerged. This wasn't the case with either The Andrea Doria or the Britannic, both of which touched bottom befor they had a chance to right themselves.
 

Sean Hankins

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May 15, 2004
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Michael is absolutely right. When a ship sinks it will always land upright if there's enough distance between the surface and the seabed. The weight of the engines and boilers would assure that with enough distance, the ship would land upright on her keel like Titanic. Since Britannic sank in such shallow waters, her bow slammed into the bottom with her starboard side facing the bottom as per her list before the ship was completely submerged. She just didnt have time to straighten out to an even keel.
 

Wesley Burton

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Apr 22, 2004
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I just performed a little experiment. I took a model of Titanic,(dont have one of Britannic, seeing as the two were virtually identical I used it.) I put ballast where the boiler rooms and engine rooms would be, and a little more on the starboard side. The model sank with a list to the starboard bow. The bow hit the bottom of the tank with the stern still above water. The model at this point had a strong list to starboard. The starboard side was facing the bottom. Yet it still righted itself and ended up on its keel. I performed the test twice. It took the model about 23 minutes to sink.


The model is 40 cm long and the water was 22 cm deep.
 
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Phillip Ivey II

Guest
It would be foolish to try and raise the wreck. Without the structural damage, the financial costs for raising a wreck the size of the Britannic would be huge. I think it should be left alone and be treated as though she were a cemetary she people died while sailing on the Britannic. It would also be a memorial to this beautiful ship who never carried a paying passenger.
 

Severin Vogt

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Apr 12, 2017
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If they leave the wreck alone, it will just rot and eventually collapse. All it's history and everything, gone forever. The wreck is in excellent condition, as says Wikipedia and several other websites. Here's what I think: We should go deep underwater with a couple sub's, then they will put a gigantic net underneath the Britannic's side. Then the sub's will start pulling her up to the surface with the giant net. Then they will repair the giant hole in the bow, put her on an even keel, clean it's hull and interior and everything, repair all the other broken stuff on her, reinstall the masts, smokestacks, and davits, and she'll be as good as new and could be used as a floating hotel, or even get new engines and stuff and bring her back to service! Well, I'm done. That's what I have to say. Feel free to rip me apart and say I'm crazy.