When is salvaging from inside the wreck justified

Dec 2, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
>>About the crows nest. I never said that the incident was connected with the retrieval of the masthead lantern, I merely pointed out that the crows nest was missing in what seems to be a later stage of the '87 expedition. Naturally, I can't say that RMSTI destroyed or damaged the crows nest (I don't think that any damage during any expedition was intentional), and nothing conclusively can be said in this matter. <<

In all fairness Magnus, what you said was "Would you care to explain how the crow's nest was still in place during the early stages of the '87 expedition (as shown in a photograph in the Swedish magazine Illustrerad Vetenskap from 1987)but gone later when Nautile retrieved the lantern from the forward mast? Oh, and please explain the damages clearly made by subs found during Ballard's latest expedition?"

While unstated, it can easily be taken to mean that there's an underlying accusation there against the purported "Bad Guys." Other parties haven't troubled themselves to make statements with hidden meanings but have stated explicitly that RMSTI had deliberately or through negligence done damage to the ship. You can even see such right here in this forum if you backcheck through some of the older threads.

>>I do hope that the hostile tone between us could be reduced somewhat, Eric.<<

So do I as the acrimony serves no useful purpose and both you and Eric are tending to personalize this matter. Befor anybody replies further to this thread, kindly step back, take a breath, count to ten (thousand)...whatever works...and keep the personalities out of it.
 

Eric Paddon

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Jun 4, 2002
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"Ok, regarding your first counter argument, making money, RMSTI has recovered coal (which I have no objection to) from the ocean floor for the sole purpose of financing other expeditions."

Your argument falls apart in your own statement above. The coal sales were to cover costs of more exploring and expedition costs, which means the proceeds were being put back in for a useful purpose and not to line the bank accounts of any one man or group of men (unlike Robert Ballard and his cushy book deals and lecture fees and camera-hog exposure on TV).

"It has also been reported in the media that RMSTI tried to obtain legal right to sell artifacts, but the court denied the company that right. The case went to the appeals court which ruled that RMSTI does not have a right to the artifacts."

The issue was never one of their right to sell individual artifacts on the auction block to private collectors according to the scenario painted by anti-salvors since 1987.

"About the crows nest. I never said that the incident was connected with the retrieval of the masthead lantern, I merely pointed out that the crows nest was missing in what seems to be a later stage of the '87 expedition. Naturally, I can't say that RMSTI destroyed or damaged the crows nest"

Sorry, but your attempt to defend Robert Ballard in your previous post reveals otherwise. That was an attempt to defend his remark that based on the facts surrounding the recovery of all three objects is indefensible and for which he has never been held accountable for, and for which the lie remains in print in all current and future editions of his book. What can be said conclusively about this matter is that Robert Ballard deliberately lied and distorted in order to throw mud at RMSTI and the principle of salvage for the sake of pure grandstanding.

"It's exactly the same way I feel about the Titanic. It's a grave site."

There have been no human remains disturbed for the sake of retrieving an artifact unlike the case of the Monitor a couple years ago, and for which Robert Ballard uttered not one syllable of protest. Artifact recovery from the Andrea Doria and Lusitania was never objected to either.

From my standpoint, if the "gravesite" argument had any validity to it, then as far as I'm concerned there should be no dives to the wreck period because if it's wrong to recover an isolated piece of debris that wasn't next to any human remains and look at it in a museum, then it's also wrong to go down and gawk at those items on the ocean floor. That becomes little more than cheap voyeurism IMO if you think it's okay to look but not recover and let others see them with their own eyes (as opposed to letting only the elites who can afford million dollar sub dives be the only ones who can see them).

"But I wouldn't go so far as saying that the new treaty is unconstitutional."

Well this is a matter of the difference between our two countries. The United States Constitution is based on the premise of limiting the powers of the state, and only granting them specific powers, and one power that is not the business of the state is assuming jurisdiction over wrecks in international waters and using the tax money of American citizens to force the policing of such wrecks to achieve that end. Only in American territorial waters would they have a legitimate right to do so.
 

Magnus Lundin

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Jul 6, 2004
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I won't take this any further in this thread, but I feel that I should ask everyone for an apology who has taken offense, since it wasn't my intention to accuse the RMSTI of anything, I think it has to do with lacking grammar from my part. My aim wasn't to try to use a hidden meaning deliberately or to imply that RMSTI made any intentional damage. I think that RMSTI thought their cause to be noble, but again, I don't agree with it.
For the record, I don't try to defend Ballard. The only thing I've read by him is his book about the discovery of the Titanic (I think it's simply called Discovery in English, I've only read a translated version). I've also seen a brief documentary made shortly after the discovery and a documentary on Ballard's expeditions to the Britannic. In fact, I know very little what he has said about the expeditions and what he's said after 1986.
 

Eric Paddon

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Jun 4, 2002
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"But the descendant that I grew to know and love was very opposed to it. Lucy Duff Gordon's late grandson, Tony Halsbury, thought it was criminal and was ready to take action should his family be exploited. I quote the following from a letter from him in 1998:"

Frankly, he wouldn't have a legal leg to stand on. If his grandmother accepted payment from an insurance company for loss of property in 1912, then whoever spends their own money to salvage any such object has the legal right to do whatever they please with it. A more conciliatory attitude about not wanting something to be displayed would go a lot further in that instance.

With regards to the attitude of people in an exhibition that is used to blast the artifact ones, consistency would require taking the same approach with ones like Orlando because that relies almost exclusively on movie props and set pieces and a gift shop with no salvaged artifacts whatsoever. To say that an artificat exhibition is the only place where that kind of attitude among visitors would exist is a very weak argument IMO.
 
May 12, 2005
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Frankly, your insensitivity is astonishing. But you're right, Tony wouldn't have a leg to stand on, since he died 4 years ago of a catastrophic stroke. I think you've expressed your opinion clearly enough. I am supportive of your right to feel as you do and don't need to try and change your view. But kindly be more respectful of others' feelings, please.
 

Eric Paddon

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Jun 4, 2002
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I think my POV on the matter of frivolous litigation designed to sully the reputations of people and an organization that has already had its reputation sullied enough over the last 17 years is more than legit, and I don't consider that view "insensitive" in the least bit. If you want to make a point about how a certain survivor's descendant would go that route rather than make a dignified, conciliatory appeal in the event a specific item like that were found, then those like me who find that kind of conduct appalling also have a right to make that point.
 
Jul 11, 2001
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Gentleman, My exaggerated statement earlier was to stimulate conversation and show how silly people can sound when they don't acknowledge both parties views. Eric and I have hopefully at least shed some light on the fact that some people feel more connected to seeing artifacts than reproduced props. Or that mere blurry photographs can provide.

Randy and Magnus are no doubt passionate that the Titanic should be a look but don't touch area to not offend families of the passengers. Both sides have plenty of points to convey. I hope people on both sides have learned more about the others point of view. I know I have. Has it changed my opinion? No. But reading some of the thoughts here, plus a few sent to me privately have made me more aware of the reasons behind them. And that is a good thing.

But alas, even I feel this thread will just continue to self destruct. So perhaps since I opened this pandoras box, I ask everybody to "agree to disagree" and we voluntarily close this thread.
 

Bill Willard

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Mar 24, 2001
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Let's play a game>

I'll place a quote here, and let's see who can identify who said it and when. Here goes:

"My feeling would be more of one there is a tremendous desire on the part of the people of the world to see the Titanic in somewhat of a more tangible way than the way we are presenting it to date with images. I do believe that there is a tremendous amount of material in this debris area that has no real important significance, laying scattered all over the ocean floor.
Like I say, I am in favor of the recovery of that material probably with manned submarines, to ensure they are protected and the public and the world have the ability to touch or so to speak, and feel the ship."

Okay, which survivor or salvager said this?
 

Eric Paddon

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Jun 4, 2002
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I'd like to say that's Ballard's Congressional testimony but he was a bit less blunt in the way he put it.
 

Eric Paddon

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Jun 4, 2002
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Ballard's Congressional testimony did not represent his "first" position on the matter. His documented track record is one of (1) saying before television cameras on the day the wreck was found and in his interviews when he got back that no artifacts should be brought up period because it's a gravesite (2) saying something different away from TV cameras before Congress that clearly indicates being open to salvage (3) reverting to the gravesite argument before TV cameras in 1986 and not using the excuse about having no legal authority to do so because he's working at government expense that he later said away from TV cameras in his book.
 

Bill Willard

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Mar 24, 2001
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It's Robert Ballard's congressional testimony, (page 43 of the document I have) after being questioned by Mrs. Schneider. I threw in the "survivor" and "salvager" clues as detractors to be tricky.
 

Magnus Lundin

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Jul 6, 2004
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When did the congressional hearing you're referring to take place? What was the outcome of those proceedings?
As a Swede, it's difficult to keep up on American domestic politics (well, these kind of matters anyway).
 
Apr 11, 2001
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Magnus, the hearing statement is posted here on ET- will try to pull it up from the archives. The Department of Commerce, NOAA Federal Register guidelines for Exploration and Salvage can be found at this link. You will need to download Acrobat Reader (adobe site) to read the VERY lengthy passages as it is in a PDF formatted file. Interesting stuff. http://www.acuaonline.org/legupdates/Titanic_Guidelines.pdf
 
Apr 11, 2001
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Acrobat Reader 4.0 version will be adequate. Go to the free download website if you do not have it on your computer already.
 

Scott Newman

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Jun 16, 2004
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I have a question that is perhaps a little off topic, but I've never been able to find an answer for...Why was George Tulloch voted out of the company he helped create? Was his vision different than the vision of those now in charge of RMSTI, or did he leave under his own accord? It seems like until the day he left, he worked very hard selling the idea of recovering artifacts. I thought he did a nice job of it as well.

As far as the debate on salvage goes, I've posted my thoughts on 3 or 4 different threads...so I'll resist here.