Who Owns Titanic


Jamie Bryant

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Aug 30, 2003
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Does anybody know who own's Titanic. I personally believe that Cunard are the rightfull owners as they purchased the White Star Line in the 1930s. Although because it's a lost ship they may not. I did learn that Ballard had the right to claim ownership for being it's discoverer though he declined, and thank God he did too! Not to be xenophobic or anything but I would hate to see Titanic fall into foreign hands.
Another thing does anyone recall that sick couple who were married on the deck of the Titanic? It absolutely disgusted me for one thing, They may as well have their honeymoon in the Halifax Memorial!!!
Jamie Bryant
 

Tim Foecke

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Jul 16, 2003
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Ballard did not have the right to claim ownership, he in fact did try, but was declined as he was acting as an agent of the US Government at the time, and was not a qualified claimant. In addition, he did not salvage anything, and in all admiralty courts require presentation of a bona fides in the form of an identifyable (through features or documentation) object from the wreck. After he went on record before Congress (see Congressional Record at thomas.loc.gov) that salvage should be done, and after he was unable to get salvage rights, he THEN became strongly anti salvage.

As for the current state of things, RMSTI tried to give up salvage rights due to lack of funds to work the wreck site. The court in Norfolk VA wouldn't let them, and they are currently in contempt. NOAA is monitoring under a preemptive implementation of that Titanic preservation treaty that has been floating around for a while.

However, RMSTI does not, and has never owned the wreck, nor has anyone else. RMSTI has salvage rights and stewardship of the artifacts, not title. They own nothing.
 

Jamie Bryant

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Aug 30, 2003
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On a video about the wreck, Ballard himself says that he had the OPTION to claim ownership, but he chose not to and also states that he now regrets it. Although your information is true. The video's interpretaion of the events you have described above are some what mixed.
 

Tim Foecke

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Jul 16, 2003
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Ballard is not above a bit of revisionism, as long as it enables him to continue to pull down 20G's a speech. He did not have the option, as he was a Naval Reserve officer on a Navy funded mission using a Navy vessel (administered by WHOI). As a Fed employee myself, I know the limitations in cases like this.
 
G

Gavin Murphy

Guest
T,

You say:

"However, RMSTI does not, and has never owned the wreck, nor has anyone else".......part marks only.

Of course you are right when you say that RMST does not own the wreck......or the artifacts, but surely SOMEONE owns the ship.

Cunard? No. But the insurers? Likely. Or the reinsurers. In fact, aren't the insurance cos. (names escapes me at the moment) parties to all the legal proceedings in VA? I think so.

I hope this helps.

G
 

Tim Foecke

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Jul 16, 2003
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Like people with stolen items like paintings, you must make good faith efforts to maintain your rights to your property. I'm not sure the threshhold for the case of sunken ships, but they must be active in some fashion. AFAIK, the insurance company came out of the woodwork lately, and the judge is ignoring them.
 
G

Gavin Murphy

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....but don't forget about the Liverpool and London Steamship Protection and Indeminity Association, Limited.....or their successors, who are, in effect, the claimants in legal proceedings as owners of the vessel on the basis of subrogated rights, etc.
 
J

john skinner

Guest
i know right after the titanic sank WSL was in a real hurry to sell her,i think it was to Cunard,not to sure,but i remember reading that she was sold to a competetor to avoid civil suits and the insuing insurance legalities.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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John, White Star was in no hurry to sell the wreck to anyone, and doing so would in no way immunize White Star from liability for the ship's loss or any of the civil suits that would and did result. The casualty and all the losses arising from that casualty happened under the management and ownership of White Star and the liability would remain with them.
 
May 13, 2006
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White Star couldn't sell the wreck because they did not own it. Wrecks are seldom owned by one person or company, they are in fact normally owned by a spread of insurance companies and so on. To say someone owns a wreck is a little misleading, as to own the wreck, implies that it means the whole wreck, and to have that it would be necessary to acquire all the insurance companies interests, plus all the un-insured owners as well.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>To say someone owns a wreck is a little misleading, as to own the wreck, implies that it means the whole wreck, and to have that it would be necessary to acquire all the insurance companies interests, plus all the un-insured owners as well.<<

It can be but there's an exception to that in that the wrecks of warships are still owned by the governments which built them or who had the last title to them. The ownership of the wrecks of civilian vessels can be a bit more complicated.
 
Sep 1, 2004
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Titanic is in international water, is not she? So nobody owns her and if I could/would, I could dive to the wreck and take as many artifacts as I want?
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>Titanic is in international water, is not she?<<

Yes.

>>So nobody owns her <<

Sorry, but the location of the wreck has nothing to do with issues of ownership. Ownership remains with the line or whoever paid out on any insurance claims to same, or to whomever it was sold to by whoever holds the title.

>>and if I could/would, I could dive to the wreck and take as many artifacts as I want?<<

Possibly. The catch is that as soon as you attempted to land the artifacts, at the very least, the tax man is going to be there to take the government's share right off the top. (As anyone who has ever recovered goods from a Spanish treasure galleon can tell you!) At most, you would also be dealing with any claims made by the original owners of the artifacts and/or any of their legal heirs, assigns, and agents.
 

Ernie Luck

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Nov 24, 2004
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Hi Michael & Vitezslav

I noticed this snippet in the UK paper, Daily Mail, last Thursday. The writer was complaining about the number of laws passed by the government since it came to power. It listed about twenty, one of which was, quote:

'Protection of wrecks (RMS Titanic) Order 2003: Entering the Hull of Titanic without permission from the Secretary of State.'

This implies the UK Government has some influence over the wreck but more likely just ratifying International Agreements?

Can anyone shed any further light?
 

Ernie Luck

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Nov 24, 2004
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Here's a better one (abridged): 'Introducing on the spot fines for people who put rubbish out on the wrong days'. Unbelievable but true.
 
Jan 28, 2003
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My binmen were particularly annoyed when I did that last week, especially as the bin was full of all those grey squirrels I had intended to sell...
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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To make matters worse, Mon, I have it on authority that you fed the beasties on Polish potatoes which you imported without permission. But some of these new laws are quite useful. Since 1998, for instance, we no longer have the right to create a nuclear explosion, even in the privacy of our own homes. Before that such action was perfectly legal, if rather anti-social (nobody likes noisy neighbours).
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