When is salvaging from inside the wreck justified

Eric Paddon

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Jun 4, 2002
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Actually what I'm referring to is the idea that Ballard didn't develop an ant-salvage position until he saw those boots/shoes, and thus tries to explain his Congressional testimony by suggesting he was only pro-salvage up to that point when he saw the shoes.

But the reason that doesn't hold water is because he was spouting the exact same anti-salvage position *before* his Congressional testimony and it was the *only* position on salvage that he ever expressed publicly in the period 1985-86. I have on videotape the interviews he gave via phone from the wrecksite the day after the ship was discovered and in each of those conversations he is pushing the "gravesite" argument as a reason to not salvage. This is capped off by his appearance on the CBS Morning News on September 10 when he states that people would rather see photographs of the interior than artifacts brought up.

Then suddenly, away from TV cameras, he says something else before Congress, but in 1986, back before TV cameras, he goes back to the "gravesite" argument.

The only way Ballard's Congressional testimony makes any sense to me whatsoever in the context of what he said before and after it in public, is that in a more private setting, he had to acknowledge the possibility of long-range artifact recovery, but until that took place he was going to keep grandstanding in public about the "gravesite" in an effort to perhaps scare off anyone else from partaking in a salvage expedition. Once IFREMER went ahead with their plans though, it became convenient for Ballard to fall back on his public TV statements and create a false impression with many gullible people (like me) that this represented the only view on salvage he'd ever expressed from day one. That was the view I operated under for ten years from 1985 to 1995 because I still have those 1985 TV interviews on tape and watched them dozens of times in the first year after they happened, so I always had the impression of Ballard being consistent on this matter even if for a viewpoint I opposed.

That was why when I discovered the existence of his Congressional testimony and read what he said I was shocked beyond belief to see him making the case for salvage under the exact same guidelines that artifacts were being recovered by and saying this *after* his TV interviews to the contrary.

I believe that as Tarn has said (I believe he has expressed this) that what Ballard really wanted was clear sailing for himself to control things that he didn't want to do until much later on but because someone else beat him to it and did it earlier than he himself would have done, he decided to wrap himself up in the mantle of sanctimony, and if that meant trying to pretend he never made those remarks before Congress (they are not mentioned in his book) so be it.
 

Bill Willard

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Mar 24, 2001
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William, the first quote (Marschall is misspelled in it though) is a Ballard quote. We've all heard it. This quote was made months after he testified and made the earlier quote. According to Ballard in the NG Secrets of the Titanic, he developed the shoe theory looking at the video from 1985. He went back in 1986, attempted to open the safe, etc., AFTER developing his shoe theory. So, it couldn't have been his turning point if he were to remain loyal to it.

The bonus section, as earlier identified, is an IMAX moment from 1991 between Ralph White and Emory Kristoff. White worked with RMSTI only in 2000. The other years he has worked with the Russians with the MIRs, but neither of those two represent "the salvagers".

Only one group has legally been granted the rights to salvage the ship. Whether it's right or wrong is irrelelvant. It's perfectly legal. No other discovered ship has been treated as specially as the Titanic has in regard to salvage. Others have been legally strip-mined even though tragedies have befallen them. But not Titanic! Titanic is treated specially by choice of the lead salvor, George Tulloch. The Hunley was recovered with the remains of the sailors on board here still significant and in their positions, and the recovery efforts have been praised world wide, and the decendants from those sailors are in favor of what's being done.
 
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William Barr

Guest
" the first quote (Marschall is misspelled in it though) is a Ballard quote. We've all heard it. This quote was made months after he testified and made the earlier quote. According to Ballard in the NG Secrets of the Titanic, he developed the shoe theory looking at the video from 1985. He went back in 1986, attempted to open the safe, etc., AFTER developing his shoe theory. So, it couldn't have been his turning point if he were to remain loyal to it".

My apologies to Ken Marschall. I'm well aware of his work and outstanding contributions.

Bill, all due respect why is it " The shoe theory" ? Isn't it possible Ballard simply looked at the pictures and just decided it was wrong to bring things up after seeing where all these people very clearly came to rest after looking at the pictures? It seems like your attempting to spin Ballard attempting to open a safe with recovering it from the ocean floor and that's disappointing. He makes very clear in his book if there was a price-less item in that safe he would have to contact Woods Hole to advise him.

It should also be noted Ballard's testimony talks of salvage/Dredging Operations as if he had good intentions. What he did not do is proclaim himself the "Salvor in Possession" and retire to make Titanic a life-time business, complete with T-shirts, selling coal, boxer shorts and a collection of items no one aside from a permanent museum can afford to maintain over generations as the RMSTI house of cards falls apart. Ballard proved his abilities many times over with several shipwrecks and never took anything unless it was for true archaeological purposes from things unknown.

The bonus round was Anatoly Sagalevitch in Titanica with Emory Kristoff and Ralph White. I personally loved the part where Sagalevitch told White that suitcase was not his. Too bad Mr Tulloch and P.H. Nargeolet were not told the same things while they were down there.

As to the Hunley, I completely agree with you.

Why is NG part of salvaging/restoring something that sank in 1864, while something that sunk in 1912 is considered contemporary and
well-documented to a point they are against any kind of salvage?

And Mr Newman, to answer you question, folks enjoy passionate debates. I personally like and respect Mr Willard, it does not mean because we differ strongly it's anything more than that.

It's also more fun than debating with our wives and girlfriends because they win every time. LOL...
 
May 12, 2005
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"...I think I need to quit staying up so late. My messages are now starting to "not make sense"..."

Maybe you need a girlfriend to take your mind off it.
 
Mar 3, 1998
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A point of fact...one cannot declare oneself a salvor-in-possession just by discovering a wreck. According to maritime law. to stake a claim as salvor-in-possession, one must recover an artefact first. To maintain that status, one must demonstrate continued capability to recover artefacts from a wreck. That's one reason why RMST must periodically go to the wreck and bring up something. It doesn't have to be a pair of shoes, it could be a twisted piece of steel or maybe even a lump of coal...anything from the wreck to maintain that status. That was one of the underlying motives behind the "pirate" expedition of 2002...a desparate attempt to wrest the salvor-in-possession rights away from RMST after the latter was about to allow their status to lapse (continued recovery expeditions were -- and continue to be -- a heavy financial burden on the company).

Ballard is an explorer; at least, he speaks often for the Explorer's Club. He is not in the salvage business. He makes no attempt to recover objects, which is why I think it strange that he has such strong feelings about others who do. He should know that once he discovers and makes public the location of any wreck in international waters, he opens the door for salvage. In essence, he facilitates salvage operations, but then takes exception when it actually happens. I don't understand his stance, but Ballard's actions may just be frustration on his part. He wants to explore, but doesn't have the resources to maintain a status of salvor-in-possession in order to protect discovered wrecks over the long term. His only recourse is to try to convince governments to step in and protect the wrecks and I think that he's trying with his emotional appeals to enlist the aid of public sentiment in making his case. Ballard knew before the recent NatGeo telecast that the Marconi Room roof had not collapsed because of submersible landings (footage of the roof over Wilde's stateroom -- where no submersible has ever landed -- was presented as evidence to back his assertion, even though we saw the intact Marconi Room roof soon thereafter) and he knew that he had damaged the wreck significantly while conducting low-level passes over the bow section during his 1986 expedition. Why, then, is he so critical of others? I can only assume that he is "spinning" the facts in order to stake a claim based not on artefact recovery, but rather on morality. If so, then Ballard is attempting the circumvent maritime law.

It's an emotional subject, to be sure. Watch for it to be played out again over Carpathia.

Parks
 

Eric Paddon

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Jun 4, 2002
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"What he did not do is proclaim himself the "Salvor in Possession" and retire to make Titanic a life-time business"

Actually I would argue that the Titanic did become a meal ticket for Robert Ballard, because it launched him to 20 years of cushy lecture fees, the ability to write multiple books (some of which are often verbatim rehashes of a previous book) and gain TV and media exposure that no other oceanographer possesses and then the ability to pick and choose his own expedition campaigns in subsequent years that are only possible because he gets to say again and again, "I found the Titanic".

No one from RMSTI has achieved the kind of public exposure and personal fame and wealth that Ballard has made off Titanic (in one hypocritical moment in 1998 while going off to take artifacts from the Isis he accused the RMSTI people of being in it for personal fame and glory) because they have pretty much let the artifacts speak for themself.
 

Eric Paddon

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Jun 4, 2002
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"I personally loved the part where Sagalevitch told White that suitcase was not his. Too bad Mr Tulloch and P.H. Nargeolet were not told the same things while they were down there."

Just one problem. If that suitcase was indeed Howard Irwin's, we already know of the rich value to Titanic history the contents of that suitcase has brought us in filling in a wealth of things we never knew about Henry Sutehall and Howard Irwin, and how that discovery enriched the lives of Dave and Barbara Shuttle. How much poorer we would be for seeing "H. Sutehall" remain an impersonal piece of type and never learning the story of a man whose luggage made it on-board even as he did not sail aboard the ship.
 
May 12, 2005
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"...I think that he's trying with his emotional appeals to enlist the aid of public sentiment in making his case..."

He probably is but people make up their own minds. Those of us against salvage don't feel that way because we've had our emotions whipped up by Ballard. He and his views have certainly not factored into my decision. I have little regard for the man and don't appreciate his using the issue as a soap box for his personal fame. He's been made obsolete by RMSTI but even more so by Cameron whose dives have made a major contribution to understanding the wreck, rivaling (if not surpassing) the work Ballard has done. As far as photographing and therefore documenting the wreck as it is today, no one has matched what Cameron, Ken Marschall and Don Lynch have done.

And to address something that was mentioned before: for me there is no inconsistency in supporting dives for educational purposes while opposing dives for salvaging/profitting. To me it's the same premise as visiting a cemetery. You go to visit but you don't leave with a headstone as a memento.
 
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William Barr

Guest
" Actually I would argue that the Titanic did become a meal ticket for Robert Ballard, because it launched him to 20 years of cushy lecture fees, the ability to write multiple books (some of which are often verbatim rehashes of a previous book) and gain TV and media exposure that no other oceanographer possesses and then the ability to pick and choose his own expedition campaigns in subsequent years that are only possible because he gets to say again and again, "I found the Titanic".

I seem to recall the cover of NG saying " How WE found the Titanic".

What is the man supposed to do? Not talk about Titanic when asked, not give interviews. How do you know how much he makes vs what he does for free? He found the ship and deserves the rewards and all the benefits/exposure that come with it. He is an outstanding explorer who has proved it countless times. When he talks/writes he is doing it for profit and when he seemingly snubs someone for not giving an interview he is criticized for it?

Honestly, how does the man win?

Last I checked the Institute for
Exploration is a non-profit organization. Ballard has done a lot to try and bring information to school children and the general public:

http://www.mysticaquarium.org/ballard/home/

When was the last time RMSTI did something without profit first and foremost in mind, what have they done for free?

Seems to me Ballard never gets tired of giving credit to Jean-Louis Michel, even if the French I feel did not respect a man who earned the same praise Ballard got because without him Titanic is not found in 1985.

" No one from RMSTI has achieved the kind of public exposure and personal fame and wealth that Ballard has made off Titanic (in one hypocritical moment in 1998 while going off to take artifacts from the Isis he accused the RMSTI people of being in it for personal fame and glory) because they have pretty much let the artifacts speak for themself."

Why do the RMSTI people deserve public fame or exposure or the wealth that Ballard earned? They did what any person of this message board could have done and took advantage of a business opportunity, nothing more. After Joslyn's show in 1987 and some questionable shows (and that's being kind) over the years like " Titanic, Secrets Revealed " (hosted by Bernard Hill), that mention Jack Grimm, but not Ballard, seems there has been some very questionable content.

What can I say about the Isis vs Titanic, one we know about the other we knew little about. I will not pretend to be an expert. Ballard's explanation of the archieology and the difference between the age of both ships make me feel he is right.

Mr Paddon, we think of Titanic in different terms. I think of it as theirs (the people who lived and died with what has happened and continue to) you seem to think of it as what it can do for you. How much poorer we would be for seeing "H. Sutehall" remain an impersonal piece of type and never learning the story of a man whose luggage made it on-board even as he did not sail aboard the ship?

To answer your question, I feel I don't count as much as those people did so if I have to be a little poorer knowledge-wise and see a little less, so be it.
 

Eric Paddon

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Jun 4, 2002
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"I seem to recall the cover of NG saying " How WE found the Titanic".

Which is the exception and not the rule to how he promotes himself. Case in point his waste of money CD-ROM on exploring shipwrecks where his intro has the boast, "I'm Bob Ballard the man who found the Titanic." And when Johnny Carson and all the other talk shows came abooking it wasn't for a group of men it was for him.

"He found the ship and deserves the rewards and all the benefits/exposure that come with it."

He found it and then his contributions toward providing us with a deeper understanding of the wreck turned out after 1986 to be a big fat zero while other expedition teams including those carried out by RMSTI contributed far more. I'm grateful to him for playing the big role in finding it, but finding it was only a beginning to greater things which he had little to do with, and when his track record shows documented lies and falseshoods to try and impugn the motives and integrity of those who do engage in salvage (the crows nest telephone matter) that makes him even less an admirable figure as a man from my standpoint.

"Honestly, how does the man win?"

By (1) apologizing for the falsehoods he promoted and (2) acknowledging in print and with lengthy explanations the matter of his Congressional testimony and (3) acknowledging the good intentions of those who carried out these salvage expeditions and (4) the legitimate case for salvage which has been favored by some survivors as much as its been objected to by others. That would help for a start.

"When was the last time RMSTI did something without profit first and foremost in mind, what have they done for free?"

RMSTI is a private organization that didn't use any of my tax dollars to carry out their expeditions so this is a bogus argument to use as a basis for criticizing them, especially since they refused to do what every other notable salvage team of a famous shipwreck has done in the past, which is not to display artifacts for the people to see and appreciate but sell them piecemeal on the open market to private collectors. If "profit" as you define it was their only concern they would have started selling them in 1988.

"Seems to me Ballard never gets tired of giving credit to Jean-Louis Michel"

His conduct after the wreck was found shows otherwise when he basically presented himself as the man who did everything.

"Why do the RMSTI people deserve public fame or exposure or the wealth that Ballard earned?"

This is twisting around the point I made which was to note the hypocrisy of Ballard accusing others of seeking fame and glory when *he* is the one who used the Titanic as a meal ticket to launching personal fame and glory of his own, whereas no one in RMSTI by contrast was ever guilty of that untrue accusation he put forth.

"What can I say about the Isis vs Titanic, one we know about the other we knew little about."

This again is the untenable "chronological snobbery" argument that defines the value of something to history by its age and is a principle that all history graduate students are told to disregard on day one. Those of us like me who are specialists in 20th century and who couldn't give a flying fig about the Isis see more value in the Titanic artifacts than we will ever see in that ship, and no one has a right to deny us of the opportunity to preserve those legacies especially in the name of advancing the bogus "chronological snobbery" perspective.

"Ballard's explanation of the archieology and the difference between the age of both ships make me feel he is right."

Ballard is not a professional historian and as far as I'm concerned he has no competence whatsoever when it comes to understanding the deeper issues behind historic preservation and understanding. (In the interests of disclosure I hold a doctorate in American History and have taught it on the college level).

"To answer your question, I feel I don't count as much as those people did so if I have to be a little poorer knowledge-wise and see a little less, so be it."

A nice job of evasion, especially since the comments of the Shuttle's have more than vindicated the value of what Howard Irwin's suitcase has brought to us, but what it comes back to is how you as an anti-salvor who wishes to take the ignorance is bliss kind of thinking with regard to what can be learned for such artfacts desire to force that viewpoint on the rest of us who do wish to learn from them and see the value they bring to ourselves and to future generations. And that POV is one I will never respect or begin to understand (which is not the same thing as denying people the right to hold such views, so let's not use that statement as the grounds for accusing me of "intolerance" which would be a bogus use of the term.)
 

Eric Paddon

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Jun 4, 2002
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"there is no inconsistency in supporting dives for educational purposes while opposing dives for salvaging/profitting. To me it's the same premise as visiting a cemetery. You go to visit but you don't leave with a headstone as a memento."

When people go to a cemetery they don't open the grave and gawk at the interior contents before leaving it "undisturbed." As far as I'm concerned diving down to the wreck to gawk while holding a "sacred gravesite" view is inconsistent thinking for that reason alone because if it's sacrelige to touch an artifact and look at it in a musuem it's cheap voyeurism to gawk at it on the ocean floor.
 
May 12, 2005
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You're right Eric, absolutely. In everything and at all times. Hail to Paddon, god of Titanica, RMSTI's caped defender, Ballard's ablest foe.... Jeez.
 
Jul 11, 2001
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David walks over to the Garden hose, turns on the water then sprays down Eric and Randy
"Enough boys!. Nobody is going to win this debate." Can we move on without a retort? I don't like seeing either one of you going at each other like this.
 

Eric Paddon

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Jun 4, 2002
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I'm afraid Randy's remarks are just typical of an attitude in a certain group of people I've seen for too many years that will always have it's own peculiar set of double standards and reluctance to address the points made by those of differing views.
 
May 12, 2005
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David:

I'm not trying to win a debate. I have only expressed my opinion, which happens to be the opposite to Eric's. Yet, despite that, I have several times made the point that I respect others' views on this issue. Eric has not done that which shows the essential difference in our approach. He has been rude and impersonal throughout and shown no compassion for how others feel whatsoever. The above post is the first time he even addressed me by name.

Eric:

"...reluctance to address the points made by those of differing views..."

I have been far from reluctant to address points made here. In fact, although several members of this board feel the same as I do on the question of salvage, I am the only one (apart from Magnus) who has weighed into the discussion. So I have addressed your points. It's just you don't acknowledge them as valid because they don't jibe with your own views and idealogy. My above remarks were not serious but were only meant to be as absurd and pointless as this "debate" has become.

David you can turn the hose off and go back to eBaying!
happy.gif


Randy
 

Eric Paddon

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Jun 4, 2002
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"Eric has not done that which shows the essential difference in our approach."

Defending one's own POV that is strongly felt does not mean I have to "respect" a particular viewpoint that I happen to believe requires some very dubious premises to be arrived at. Those are my convictions on the subject and I think any person is entitled to them so long as he is willing to defend his views through the use of well-argued factual information rather than deliberately inflammatory soundbites that ultimately invite a reaction from those who feel otherwise.

"He has been rude and impersonal throughout"

I considered your characterizations of the exhibitions rude and impersonal in slamming an entire group of people who have attended these exhibitions and found them rewarding, in the interests of promoting a false stereotype of the typical artifact exhibit visitor and then suggsting its the presence of artifact exhibitions that brings out that kind of behavior when the record is clear that it doesn't. That was the initial rudeness, combined with your words like "morbid" etc. that got my hackles raised as they always are when I hear that rhetoric. If anti-salvors want to use that rhetoric when making their points, they either have to be prepared to expect something in response or take a different approach. They can't have it both ways.

"and shown no compassion for how others feel whatsoever."

I have argued on behalf of a principle and defended it. Nothing more. This is an exchange over ideas and arguing them forcefully if need be (especially if others choose to inflame things with their rhetorical rudeness) and unlike others, it isn't the kind of thing that gives me a headache after awhile (unless a certain gent named ESP were to come back from the dead).

My defense of RMSTI is based on my gratitude for what they gave me by making my greatest dream as a Titanic enthusiast come true. When I see people who attend these exhibitions unfairly stereotyped in the manner in which you did in your initial post that got me upset, that becomes to me a decidedly uncompassionate slur on all of those like me who came away with something different, and if the stereotype is used unjustly only to single out artifact exhibitions when the evidence shows more evidence of that behavior happening elsewhere like at J. Dawson's gravesite in Halifax, then that too becomes something that I think must be objected to in strong terms. And for doing that, I'm glad that I did.