News Titanic Shipwreck to Be Protected Under Treaty with the U.S. - TIME


MIke Bull2019

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I'm totally ambivalent to items being lifted from the debris field, but I do NOT agree with any plan to actively damage the wreck in order to retrieve either the Marconi set, or anything else, from inside. I don't care how bad the ship's deckhouses are getting- there's no right there to start further pulling things apart.

For years Parks Stephenson has spoken of wanting the Marconi set- I hope he is not party to this alleged plan.
 

MIke Bull2019

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Statement from Parks Stephenson today-

This past Monday, it became public knowledge that RMSTI is petitioning the Court for permission to retrieve the Marconi transmitting apparatus from the wreck. I have posted the public documents on this website. As can be seen, I authored the first Exhibit, which was an argument for the Court to consider. I am not an employee of RMSTI but believe that it is my duty to assist them as thoroughly as I can with my knowledge of the system to help the retrieval to be as successful as possible.
Since that filing, I have received numerous accusations that lecture me on the sanctity of the wreck and attempt to shame me for my greed in tearing apart the wreck for treasure. Instead of responding individually, I will make a broadcast statement here that all can read.
My response to my accusers (using a phrase that is currently popular): shame on you. Titanic does not belong to you or this time period. You have the luxury of having the wreck in a somewhat explorable condition, where the wreck itself can still reveal new stories. Future generations will not have that luxury because the wreck has been deteriorating and will continue to do so until it is a pile of rubble. Certainly, the hull will be there long after we are gone but the topside structures are falling apart. Some iconic artefacts at the site first imaged in 1985 are either no longer there or visible, more are threatened in a similar manner. The most recent dives (which will be revealed in a coming National Geographic programme) documented the most recent collapses in the bow section and even debris field. I have personally witnessed, and documented, the progression of deterioration over the past 20 years. Unlike you, I worry about what this will mean for future generations whose interest in Titanic will not be stoked by a wreck that still resembles her namesake because it will by then have become unrecognisable and unexplorable. For this reason, I want to save those artefacts that have the potential to represent the Titanic story, now and more importantly, forever. In my view, those who advocate leaving the wreck to its inevitable demise from ocean currents and iron-consuming bacteria want to deprive the wreck from inspiring new and coming enthusiasts. They got theirs, they don't care about who follows.
Some say the wreck is a tomb and should therefore be inviolate out of respect for the dead. I argue that a tomb can pay respect to the dead by revealing much about past lives, if it is properly explored. Who but the most dedicated Egyptologists who even know Tutankhamen's name if his tomb hadn't been explored and its contents analysed and made public? Was that disrespectful? As a historian, I consider it the best respect to the past when we attempt to reveal a tomb's truths. In the remains of Titanic's Marconi Silent Cabin, I learned much about the system and the last actions of the operators from the artefacts themselves. If others had access to the artefacts, might they find something that I missed? We won't know unless we make those artefacts available to others.
About my supposed greed: I can only laugh at my accusers' ignorance. Aside from travel expense reimbursement, I have never been paid for any expedition that I have been on. How many of my accusers buy their own resource material, put in long hours of work, freely give away developed content -- essentially, work a second job -- for no pay? I look at my life of living paycheque-to-paycheque, enormously in debt, working a paying job that I hate and sometimes restricts me from more enjoyable work, and then I see accusations of greed and my supposed wealth and all I can do is laugh.
So, yes. It is not a "joke," as one accuser put it. RMSTI has filed a petition with the Court for permission to cut away a roof that is already caving in to retrieve, stabilise and make available to the public for generations to come, the world's most famous radio transmitter. To leave it where it is dooms it to inevitable destruction. I am supporting their effort as best I am able because I want that artefact to belong to the public forever and I see RMSTI as the only organisation with the will, legal standing and ability to make that happen. I have had the luxury of seeing and documenting the Marconi transmitter myself. I have also seen the growing threat to its survival. I want to save that artefact before it is lost and share it with the world. If you disagree, if that offends you, then craft your argument and petition the Court yourself. As far as I can see, RMSTI is abiding by the legal process, not Facebook opinion. I cannot speak for RMSTI but will say that I personally will respect whatever decision the Court makes.
 
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Bob_Read

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I agree 100% with Parks’s statement. I would also advocate removing the cover of the forward B deck mystery object. Do you cause some destruction in the effort to gain knowledge that will otherwise be lost forever or do you just watch the destruction occur on its own without any benefit?
 
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Scott Mills

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I'm totally ambivalent to items being lifted from the debris field, but I do NOT agree with any plan to actively damage the wreck in order to retrieve either the Marconi set, or anything else, from inside. I don't care how bad the ship's deckhouses are getting- there's no right there to start further pulling things apart.

For years Parks Stephenson has spoken of wanting the Marconi set- I hope he is not party to this alleged plan.
I view Titanic as an archaeological site, and am of the mind that steps should be taken--even if that's just getting some robots to apply more anti-fowling paint--to preserve her so that in the future, as technology advances, proper archaeological work can be done that minimizes damage to what remains of her.

Since, however, such preservation efforts seem very unlikely, for me any proposed expedition to Titanic that might cause her damage needs to be carefully considered, and the potential damage to the hull weighed against the potential knowledge such an expedition could be able to secure. This is particularly the case knowing full well that, because of the rapid deterioration of the hull, we are at risk of loosing forever our ability to learn more from the wreck.

Lucky for everyone here (or unlucky for posterity) there are not enough fabulously wealthy people out there willing to foot the bill for expeditions to Titanic with the goal of trying to learn something; and I am completely with you, destroying a portion of the ship to get at the marconi set is absolutely ridiculous.
 

Scott Mills

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Treaties like this sound nice in theory but who is going to monitor the wreck 24/7?
And, since Titanic is in international waters, such treaties will only apply to the signatory states. Therefore, the United States and Great Britain will be able to 'stop' any expedition trying pilfer Titanic's wreck if they attempt to operate out of one of those countries; and, they will be able to seize anything taken from the wreck not in accordance with said treaty should it end up in the United States or Great Britain.

On the other hand, nothing is stopping an expedition from Russia, as an example, from doing whatever the hell they'd like to Titanic or on the wreck.
 

john barrass

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Whenever retrieval of artefacts and Titanic are mentioned every certified ‘Titaniac” has an opinion. As per usual rational debate goes out the window, the insults fly and the big picture gets lost in its wake.

Every one of us has a vested interest. It could be emotional, scientific, historical or monetary. Each opinion is valid and all should be respected.

The proposal in my opinion presents great challenges of ethics, legalities and scientific. On the ethics side the action of actually deliberately cutting into Titanic gives rise for some to state” desecration”.

On the other hand if the Marconi apparatus was lying in the debris field it would have been long recovered.

On the legality with the recent signing between the US and British Govt’s affording Titanic more protection ….well only the court can decide that argument.

The scientific and by that the concept of using cutting tools in the abyss I would imagine would be a first. Obviously this could benefit mankind’s knowledge of what can be achieved 2 miles down.

There is no doubt deep sea exploration is an expensive business. Great sums of money are poured into these Titanic dives and each one new technologies are developed to benefit all.

Every “Titaniac” around the world has marvelled at the improvements in cameras, lighting and the unmanned rovs . What we all saw on film in 1985 compared to now is astounding.

However these improvements cannot be funded without investment and those putting up the dollars want a return. Hence we have now proponents seeking a court order to obtain the Marconi equipment.

Personally would I like to see the Marconi Equipment - yes

……………would I like to see further exploration of Titanic-.yes

……………would I like to see Titanic deliberately cut - No

Finally Parks Stevenson is undeserving of the crap shovelled his way in his support of the project as is Bill Willard with his project to ‘Name Them All”.

Without both gents “Titaniacs” around the world would be less informed.
 
Nov 14, 2005
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"Finally Parks Stevenson is undeserving of the crap shovelled his way in his support of the project as is Bill Willard with his project to ‘Name Them All”. "
I agree with you on that. My opinion has changed on the subject over the years. I guess they are doing it to preserve the artifacts? In a short time relatively speaking Titanic is going to be a pile of rust. I get both sides of the argument but shes going to be gone one way or the other. Personally I dont think there will be much left of the radio equipt thats worth the effort but thats just my opinion.
 
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I wouldn't mind getting the Marconi transmitter out of the wreckage, but will it really be preserved for future generations, or like so many artifacts sold at auction to the highest bidder and thus disappear forever into private collections? That's the crux of the whole story...
 

Scott Mills

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I agree 100% with Parks’s statement. I would also advocate removing the cover of the forward B deck mystery object. Do you cause some destruction in the effort to gain knowledge that will otherwise be lost forever or do you just watch the destruction occur on its own without any benefit?
What is this mystery object you speak of?

Never mind, it's the refrigeration unit for the Second Class Smoking Room's wine cooler--or so I have always believed. It's just been a long time since I thought about it.

And, to your point, I agree. That's the type of damage to the hull that *I* would be perfectly okay with, as it would not have an effect on the integrity of the hull and it would answer an unsettled question; an unsettled question, I would add, that will be impossible to answer in a few more years due to deterioration of the wreck.

So I too agree in principle with Park's statement (this is exactly what I was talking about in my original post); however, I disagree that simply recovering the wireless set is worth cutting away the hull. If, on the other hand, recovering the wireless set were part of a more substantial plan for investigation of parts of the wreck that have been hitherto impossible to adequately explore, I would probably agree to cutting away the roof.

And incidentally, it bugs the **** out of me that this is not being done for the purposes of preserving anything, though that might be a 'happy' side effect. It is being done (or proposed) for one purpose only--the profit of RMS Titanic Inc.

So while I understand Park's motives here, and as an 'historian' interested in Titanic, I also understand why he feels like RMS Titanic Inc. is the only show in town, though I would much prefer--in my perfect world where more people cared about things like preserving Titanic and learning as much as possible about the ship and sinking--that something like this be done by people not motivated by profit.

I am, occasionally, someone who adopts a more end stage Enlightenment perspective (maybe even Marxist); and as such, when it comes to things like Titanic, I believe she belongs to everyone as part of our collective past.

I guess you can say I am bit like Indiana Jones, and I will live and die by the statement "it belongs in a museum!"

Fake Edit

Is it me, or is that photograph of "Titanic" in the Time article actually a photograph of Olympic? Specifically the article about the treaty.

Real Edit

I thought RMS Titanic Inc. no longer existed, as its assets were liquidated as part of a bankruptcy. How and when did this change, and how have their fortunes turned around so much that they can afford to sponsor not just another dive on the wreck, but a dive that involves serious salvage work?
 
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Julian Atkins

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I hope someone will explain on here what can possible be gained by retrieving odds and ends of very corroded brass parts of Titanic's Marconi apparatus, and with all the wooden desk and wooden boxes containing much of the set up having 'gone'.

There are very accurate reproductions/recreations of the Marconi Room on Titanic; and I believe Parks has described some years ago all the relevant info from what had survived on the wreck relating to the Marconi equipment.

Currently, I don't understand the point of trying to retrieve what little is left of the Marconi apparatus, when you can visit a number of places that have replicas, or originals of the equipment from that time.

I don't understand what can be gained by all this.

I have the greatest respect for Parks and the knowledge he has shared on this forum, and I think I have read on here every post Parks has made over the past 20 years.

Cheers,

Julian
 
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Nov 14, 2005
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I hope someone will explain on here what can possible be gained by retrieving odds and ends of very corroded brass parts of Titanic's Marconi apparatus, and with all the wooden desk and wooden boxes containing much of the set up having 'gone'.

There are very accurate reproductions/recreations of the Marconi Room on Titanic; and I believe Parks has described some years ago all the relevant info from what had survived on the wreck relating to the Marconi equipment.

Currently, I don't understand the point of trying to retrieve what little is left of the Marconi apparatus, when you can visit a number of places that have replicas, or originals of the equipment from that time.

I don't understand what can be gained by all this.

I have the greatest respect for Parks and the knowledge he has shared on this forum, and I think I have read on here every post Parks has made over the past 20 years.

Cheers,

Julian
You stated better than what I said above about the radio equiptment. Having worked on electrical equiptment most of my life I have seen the effects of corrosion many times where the condition weren't favorable. And those conditions were much less harsh than at the wreck site. I can understand Parks Stevenson desire but I think he would be sadly disappointed with what they would end up with. Mostley just mush now.
 
Nov 14, 2005
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You stated better than what I said above about the radio equiptment. Having worked on electrical equiptment most of my life I have seen the effects of corrosion many times where the conditions weren't favorable. And those conditions were much less harsh than at the wreck site. I can understand Parks Stevenson desire but I think he would be sadly disappointed with what they would end up with. Mostley just mush now.
Scott Mills: I am referring to the mystery object on the forward starboard bulwark of the forward B deck promenade. The mystery is explained here: http://www.titanic-cad-plans.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Mystery-Object-revised-08-26-2019.pdf
Interesting article. Thanks. Ok I'll just throw this out as it was the first thing to come to mind. Could it have been a space heater? Probably not as I would see no need to cover one. But like I said it was the first thing that popped in my mind when I saw it.
 

Julian Atkins

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Hi Steven,

I am pleased to see we are in agreement over one matter. I personally consider nothing of any real importance has been 'discovered' about the wreck, except it's location (of considerable importance) and that the ship broke up, and the box of partly unused distress rockets. The rest is just morbid interest in what I consider to be a grave site.

You can learn all you want to know about Titanic's Marconi Room from the various recreations using original or replica equipment. So far as I can ascertain, none of Bride's newspaper 'scoop' or report to the Marconi Company, or his USA or British Inquiry testimony can have any bearing whatsoever to what is inside the decaying rotting remains of the Titanic wreck.

I just don't see the point of all this.

Let Nature take it's course; 'ashes to ashes, dust to dust'.

I might possibly take a different view if Park's 'exhibit' - presumably his affidavit - was made public, but I don't consider his public statement quoted on here is sufficient.

Cheers,

Julian

Cheers,

Julian
 

Bob_Read

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Steve Christian: I was not soliciting guesses about the function of the forward B deck mystery object. My point was to note that there are more objects which could yield valuable information if they were physically inspected. What does one call a “gravesite” where there are no human remains? How about an archaeological site? Those are dug up and explored all the time. This wreck will be destroyed one way or another. The question is whether we can learn anything more from it before it is gone. Some seem to prefer dealing with speculations and myths rather than the possibility of discoveries of real facts.
 
Nov 14, 2005
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Steve Christian: I was not soliciting guesses about the function of the forward B deck mystery object. My point was to note that there are more objects which could yield valuable information if they were physically inspected. What does one call a “gravesite” where there are no human remains? How about an archaeological site? Those are dug up and explored all the time. This wreck will be destroyed one way or another. The question is whether we can learn anything more from it before it is gone. Some seem to prefer dealing with speculations and myths rather than the possibility of discoveries of real facts.
Speculations often lead to theories which often lead to facts. I see no problem with speculation and therorizing as long as they are cleary stated as such.
 
Sep 7, 2008
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I have a big problem with the fact that the "severe corrosion of the ship, which will not exist in 10 years" will be used as the reason for such an action. This reason has existed since the official discovery of the wreck 35 years ago! Since then some "10 years" have moved into the country and the wreck still exists !!! Here, too, it seems only to be about pure profit and not about "preserving history".