This is rather looking like another thread we have seen recently. Digressing somewhat, I am interested in the psychology behind WHAT on earth makes a person want to heave a rusted derelict of twisted metal over a mile from the ocean bed, attempt to join it back into a semblance of what it once was nearly a century ago, and spend untold millions in the process? The telegraph, whistle, and bell are up, restored, and are exquisite permanent reminders of what was once beautiful. To haul up the twisted remnants is tantamount to unearthing a decayed carcass and wistfully trying to recall its former glory. It is also both intriguing and perplexing to see the large number of posts on these two threads this week, involving this proposal of raising a derelict in a dangerous state of deterioration, in relationship to the very few board postings and comments afforded to material here about real, living people who were there on the day of maritime disaster, are still very much alive, and are, to my mind, much more exciting to learn and know about than bits of twisted metal. This is, of course, just my own thought on the subject, but a sentiment worth sticking one's neck out for. Will now take cover.
Not that my opinion is worth anything, but I thought I'd give it anyway.
I believe that Titanic could not be raised from the sea floor, nor should it be. I have been fortunate enough to tour the wreck, bow to stern, through the video that Cameron took during his expedition last year. I was surprised and shocked at the fragility of the wreck...not just the superstructure but also of the hull itself. I know that there will not be as much to explore the next time Cameron visits the wreck, because the wreck will have disintegrated a bit more in the interim. As a marine engineer, I do not see a structure strong enough to endure much, if any, movement.
As a forensic analyst, I abhor the notion of moving the wreck, if only to raise a few bits and pieces here and there. The wreck, even in its current condition, has a lot to tell the person who knows what to look for. Much like a crime scene, there are clues that advanced technology is allowing us to recover, even 90 years after the fact. I have already pulled enough new information out of the 2001 expedition video to fill a book. If the wreck is disturbed, then that forensic evidence is lost. Right now, the wreck still speaks to us. Titanic is still capable of telling us her story. If the wreck is disturbed, then those remaining clues will be demolished or tainted in some way. If that happens, we may never know Titanic's complete story. A forensic analysis does not look at pieces in isolation, but rather in context. Without context, sometimes an object loses all meaning. For example, the "Big Piece" does not tell me much by itself (except for a few interesting facts about drains and portholes), especially now that it has been removed rom its original resting place.
In my opinion, those who wish to see the wreck raised to be put on public display only, despite their professed romantic feelings, see it only as a mute object that can tell us nothing more than we already know. I see the wreck as an object, yes, but one that still has much to say about its life and demise.
I'll give an example of what I mean. In the past year, analysis of the expedition video is yielding more and more proof as to how different Titanic's interior was compared to Olympic's. Some Olympic pictures that once substituted for Titanic can no longer be rightfully used because the forensic evidence has educated us on significant differences between the two ships. We can see this because we can now go deeper into the hull. And there is every intention to keep looking, deeper and farther than ever before.
I have no quarrel with those who pick up trinkets here and there. Some objects cast from the ship have already been displaced and don't need to stay. Others hold significant meaning in the manner in which they were displaced. Some objects will tell (and have told) us more on dry land than they could on the ocean floor. So, it's not a black-and-white, one-answer-fits-all kind of situation. The salvor must exercise good judgment on what he intends to retrieve. By and large, I think that has been done....so far.
Besides, experience tells us (Queen Mary and the USS Olympia come to mind) that public trusts responsible for maintaining steel ships often don't have the resources to do the job properly. I am quite skeptical that one could be found that could maintain the Titanic wreck in its entirety. Heck, RMS Titanic is having financial trouble just caring for its comparatively meagre collection of artifacts.
At any rate, that's my contribution to this discussion. I have tried to explain my opinion as best as I can, because I cannot stick around long enough to discuss it further. If this proves food for thought, then all well and good...if my words here simply irritated, then just curse me and move along to the next post. In the end, our arguments pro or con won't affect practical matters anyway...the wreck is staying right where it lies, thanks to both her condition and to the fact that the people who might have the means to move even a moderate chunk of her don't see enough reason to invest their money doing so. Thank goodness for that...the wreck is more valuable to me personally as a source of information than a desiccated, chopped-up corpse.
>>Not that my opinion is worth anything, but I thought I'd give it anyway.<<
On the conterary Parks, I think your opinion is worth a lot and I hope we get to see some more of it. With what you've outlined here, it sounds to me like there are even greater discoveries that are out there to be made.
I rarely post nowadays and when I do, I take pains to caveat my material because for every message I post in a public forum, I receive one or more negative, hurtful or insulting private messages (like the one I received just last night). I have been made fully aware that there are a good number of people who do not appreciate either what I have to say or the manner in which I say it. Personally, I don't need the abuse or the lecturing. I do, however, sincerely appreciate responses such as what you posted above.
But, enough whining. I'm responding again because I wanted the list to know that in addition to the documentary, "Ghosts of the Abyss," Madison Press is publishing a companion volume. Think of Ken's wreck report being updated, detailed, expanded and illustrated tenfold. Work on that volume is fast and furious right now and I can tell you that it will contain information about Titanic that has only recently been discovered. Yes, it will be a coffee-table-style book, but some of the most highly-regarded experts in the Titanic community are working hard to make sure that the information within is new, interesting and relevant. Of course, the publisher will always have the final say on what makes it into the galley proofs.
My point is that Titanic's history is not over, nor will it be after "Ghosts" (movie and book) has come and gone. The novelty of finding the wreck and some of its treasures is over, now serious exploration deep inside the wreck will reveal information that has never before been available. Forensic analysis will someday answer many of the remaining unanswered questions. All it requires is a little patience on everyone's part, which is a hard thing to accept when each visit to the wreck reveals additional deterioration. Personally, I fully expect to see the interior of Boiler Room #6 someday, if the hull doesn't collapse first.
Why on earth would people here send you nasty emails? You have shared your Titanic knowledge with the Titanic community, and have done so in a most friendy way, without ego or attituide. You certianly have my respect and gratitude.
I suspect there are a few Titanic buffs out there who feel only 'they' understand Titanic, and when others get closer to Titanic than they, jealosy overcomes them.
I reciieved some emails by a few crazy Titanic buffs when i worked the exhibits, saying it was unfair that someone else, and not they, got to work around the artifacts. Very sad...
Keep up the good work, and please keep posting!!!!
Im very interested in the book you mentioned- Will be as detailed as Ken's deck by deck writeup, with accompanying photos? Im very eager to see photo of the intact leaded glass windows from the reception Room.
I hope Ken will finally paint an image of Titanic as she appeared the day after she sank, before her paint faded....
Parks, I can only echo what Tarn said. How could someone send a nasty email to someone with such an overwhelming knowledge like you do? I learn so much technical things about Titanic by reading your posts and you obviously know what your talking about. I think, like Tarn said, that it is jelousy. Jelousy that you may know more, Jelousy that you have actually gotten to the wreck. What I have admired more about you than anything is that you don't have an ego. You are able to deliver your knowledge without having the ego withit. I understand why you havent been posting as much lately.
>>I rarely post nowadays and when I do, I take pains to caveat my material because for every message I post in a public forum, I receive one or more negative, hurtful or insulting private messages (like the one I received just last night). I have been made fully aware that there are a good number of people who do not appreciate either what I have to say or the manner in which I say it.<<
I see where you're coming from and I would respond by saying if your critics don't like it, they don't have to read it. I for one do apprieciate and value your insights. More then you know. They tend to be a welcome dose of reality in what often turns into Fantasyland. As to abusive e-mail, that's what I have a "delete" button for. Works marvelously well!
As to that book, you have me drooling already! (As I'm a techie, is this a surprise?) When is it expected to hit the bookstores?
I too say welcome home, Parks. Although we've fussed like two old bitties in times past, my respect and admiration for your work is high. You've elightened us all here on ET - especially technical nincompoops like me! - and you've been much missed.
Beautifully put, Parks. Just why the Raise the Titanic crowd cannot accept the inevitable is beyond me.
It also seems extremely sad that this board should lose the contribution of a marine engineer (and allow me to say, a most eloquent one at that) because a few people are too pig-headed or pea-brained to have their views challenged without resorting to personal abuse and insult. I suppose it's the usual case in life of a minority of idiots stuffing everything up for everyone else.
In response to some private questions, I am purposely vague about the contents of the "Ghosts" companion book because 1) I'm involved with or are knowledgeable of only a few select areas of the work in progress; and 2) there's no way for me to know what information the editors at Madison Press will select for the published copy. I'll be waiting along with everyone else to see the finished product.
In regards to the other question, I don't know when the book will be released. I have heard talk of a Spring 2003 release date for both movie and book, but I wouldn't bet any amount of money on that.
About all I can say at this point is that I'm excited about the prospects for this book. Done properly, this book will be an invaluable reference source and not just another glossy Titanic picture-book.