Yuri's theory about RMST's true goal


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Jul 14, 2000
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Ok, here it is. I've painted a big <FONT COLOR="ff0000">red <FONT COLOR="ff0000">X on the side of my theory to help others aim as they shoot my theory down. Hope it helps.

Yuri

My Theory:

When RMST filed for and won the right to salvage the remains of the Titanic exclusively in 1987, it was NOT the begining of this story.
No, this started earlier with the original arrangement between the French team and the Woods Hole team when they set out to find the Titanic in 1985. Reading from Dr. Ballard's book, "Discovery of the Titanic", we find that the French intended to fund their part of the expedition by selling the photographs of the ship and the exclusive news story regarding the discovery. Not to mention any items brought back from the wreck. When the discovery was made aboard the research vessel Knorr by the Woods Hole team, the news was sent out immediatly, creating a media circus in Boston and prompting news agencies to fly helicopters out to meet the Knorr in mid ocean trying to get the scoop. In an act of good faith, Dr Ballard and the French team leader agreed to allow some photos of the wreck to be carried back to land on a helicopter where they were to be made available to all news agencies worldwide, simultaneously.
Well here is where things went wrong.

Woods Hole gave the story and pictures as an exclusive to a local Canadian newspaper before offering it to the international agencies.
Thus, the French were cut off from any chance of selling exclusive footage from Titanic for profit.
The French team was furious at this and the split began.

Ok, we all know what happened next. The French snubbed Dr. Ballard's invitaion to come along on the return trip the next summer, and instead aligned itself with a new company called, RMS Titanic inc. The US company filed for and won exclusive ownership of the wreck and systematically then began putting up legal fences around the wreck site. In 1987, RMST sent its first expedition to the wreck in search of artifacts and salvage items. No attempt was made to invite the American team including Dr. Ballard along. In fact at this time, RMST began rolling out the propaganda stating that the French team actually found the wreck and that Dr. Ballard was simply along for the ride. RMST was making itself clear as to its desire to have sole ownership and rights to the Titanic, and to do with it as they pleased. Immediately came the discovery of the "brittle steal", and the reports came in that the wreck had began to deteriorate rapidly since the previous expeditions were there.

Year after year, the expeditions continued. The Titanic Artifact Exhibitions began rolling around the world taking in the dollars. The Discovery Channel gained exclusive access to the expeditions and presented several documentaries showcasing the scientific study and conservation being done by RMST on Titanic. All documentaries painted a picture of doom for the Titanic wreck, the RMST people as visionaries and conservators that felt deeply for the Titanic. A growing number of people came to view the companies statements about the Titanic as scientific fact. (And why not? We all saw it on the Discovery Channel!)

In the late 90's, James Cameron filmed "Titanic" and broke boxoffice records. Public demand for anything Titanic soared. RMST seemed to be on top of a gold mine. But each expedition it sent to Titanic cost millions. And as with anything that is suddenly popular, overnight intrest dropped. After several expeditions, over 5000 items brought back from the wreck, RMST was seeing its costs rise and no real "Killer Profit" was being made as was expected. Even after raising the 'big piece' and completely restoring the whistles, RMST suffered from a low public opinion, negative company image and worse, low profit. Its stock went public and plumeted into the dumper.

A storm was brewing. In November 1999, RMST fired several members of its board including the president. A company reorganization ensued and new plans were developed to make the company finally realize its goal. A new expedition was planned for the summer of 2000. This trip was intended to be the one that saved the company from financial ruin, and acheive the ultimate goal of the company that had eluded it since 1985.
This summer, RMST was to finally begin tearing into the hull of Titanic. Its mission, to find the millions of dollars in jewelry, gold, or whatever else might lay inside the ship's holds.

This has been the plan all along. To completely tear that ship apart, piece by piece until the treasure inside is found. Could be the Rubyiate, or the gold bullion shipment, or the bag of diamonds. Who knows? The ship was a giant treasure chest just waiting to be cracked open.

But, because of the mishap in 1985 with the footage of the wreck being given out to the world by the Woods Hole team, the French and RMST couldn't just go in and devastate the wreck without everyone knowing what they had done. No one would have stood for such an action. So they had to settle for salvaging the debris field first. No doubt it was thought at the time that some significant treasure might turn up outside the ship's hull. The safes, the luggage. But after 10 years of searching, sifting and going to the expense of making it all look scientific, no real treasure was found in the debris field.
So now, they must go into the wreck to search.
But to do so would cause intense criticism. They would have to rip the ship apart in the process.
Think about it, if they sent an ROV down deep into the bottom of the holds, and found a steel crate of gold worth over 100 million dollars, with no way to recover it exept to lift it straight out of the ship, the only way to do it would involve explosives, and the destruction of the bow section. Thats the only way to get a line on it from a ship above that could lift it. (Why else test this idea out on a bit of the hull that is completely useless otherwise? To make sure that a demolition could be accomplished from such a depth.)

That is my theory. That the salvage operation is an attempt by the original French and American interests, operating through RMST inc., to ultimately destroy the wreck in the search and recovery of any high dollar treasure that may be inside. To make money, not just a few million, but possibly hundred of millions. Even if it means the complete devestation of the old ship.

That is why we hear about the certain failure of the rapidly deteriorating hull, to make it somehow ok for them to tear into the hull in a false attempt at saving irreplaceable artifacts that need to be preserved, before they are lost forever in a pile of rusting metal.
That is why we never see the countless thousands of pictures taken of the wreck by RMST.
That is why others are never allowed to visit the
wreck site.
RMST is clearly hiding something down there.

I would not be surprised to find that they have already cut into the hull probing into the bowels of the ship. If they found bones, or clearly human remains inside the ship, do you think they would publicise it? Of course not.

Well, there it is. Whew! That took a while.
Now, I have to go to my Y2K bunker and wait out the storm of attacks against my theory.
When the radiation levels return to normal I'll come out and post my responses.

Please, don't take this as a personal attack against anyone who is French and reads this post.
Thats not my intention. I'm refering to the parties who were out of pocket that had funded the original French-American expedition in 1985 and intended to ultimatly own Titanic and her possible treasure. Not French people in general.

Humbly,
Yuri
 
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Tracey McIntire

Guest
Dear Yuri,
Wow! Sounds like the next great conspiracy theory to me! But I totally agree with you. If I stood to gain over a hundred million dollars I wouldn't mind spending a few million and waiting a few years to get it. And as you say--perhaps the wreck has already been cut into. There are no police or district court judges at 2 1/2 miles down! A reporter for a German magazine who was on this last expedition was extremely critical of the operation. She mentioned that the beer cans from the crew members now litter the deck of Titanic after they were thrown into the ocean above. I guess that shows how much respect the current management has for the wreck. I also wonder about the number of artifacts that have been put on display. Supposedly there are over 5000 but each exhibit only has a few hundred and there are currently only three or four exhibits in this country. In addition, "The Big Piece" that was raised has been cut into at least two pieces so that it can be presented at more than one show at a time. This also shows that RMST is not above cutting things up to make a profit. I also think that you are right about the deterioration of the wreck--early scientific reports had said it would collapse in maybe 50-100 years (I think I got this from Ballard's book but I don't recall for sure). Now the time frame is down to 1 to 2 years! That's a big jump. I'll believe it when I see these mysterious photos that have yet to appear. And what about the supposed "archaeological importance" of these expeditons? RMST itself admits on their web site that this year will be the first real archaelogical documentation of the artifacts. It certainly took them long enough to get to it! When noted Titanic historians like Charles Haas start to question the motives of the company then I think there is certainly something to this whole theory of yours.
Your fellow bunker-mate,
Tracey McIntire
 
Mar 20, 2000
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Wow! Yuri!

You go! But the theory's not so crazy.

I've been suspicious always about this group's intentions. I am sure you are on to something. It will all come out anyway. RMST is dastardly and now its more obvious than ever because they're turning on each other.

It kind of makes you wish the ship was never found if this is what it has all come to. Greed.

I've said the RMST exhibitions are jokes in past posts and I feel any further ones they try to mount will be even more so. I truly think the company is on its way out. Thankfully.

The government may even revoke their rights to salvage if that's possible. Surely their rights should be revoked if it can be proven that the ship has been subject to any more destruction than it has already sustained.

The group can never justify blowing open the ship or cutting into it in any way just to find valuables.

I also dearly hope that if this horrible phase of the salvaging goes on that these asses will go broke trying to find anything of real value. I don't think they'll ever find diamonds or gold or even the elusive safes. At least I pray they never will!

Randy
 

Jason D. Tiller

Moderator
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Aug 20, 2000
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Hi Yuri!

Wow! What a theory! I agree with you 100% though. I have also been suspicious for awhile now on RMST's actions. Unforunately, you may be right they might have already cut into the ship.

It's really very sad that it's had to come to this. They're very greedy people and all they care about is making tons of money. They are on their way out for sure. The truth will come out eventually.

Randy makes a good point on that if the ship has been subjected to more damage, their salvage rights should be revoked. I also hope and pray that they never find anything of real valve.

Best regards,

Jason D. Tiller
 
Jul 9, 2000
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While I'm no casual beleiver in conspiracy theiories, this one certainly sounds plausible. And I still have to ask, if the wreck IS deteriorating as quickly as they say, then WHY haven't they released any photos to back it up?

Perhaps they need time to doctor the prints on a computer?

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
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Nathan Lee Casteel

Guest
You do bring up a good point Michael and what if the wreck ISN'T deteriorating as quickly as they say? I do bring up a good point and we will just have to wait to see what they say about the wreck. Most of the ship is already gone and some of the inside has fallen in. It will be interesting to find out.

Nathan
 

Steve Santini

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Nov 22, 2000
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Very interesting Yuri!
I would like to hear the thoughts of Ken Marschall on this one as Ken is certainly both a "rivet counter" as well as one of the people not under the influence of RMSTI who have had the good fortune to visit the wreck of late. I wonder if Ken, or even James Cameron would have noticed any sort of structural damage which could be attributed to a cutting tool attack on the hull? Along the lines of "cutting into the hull", I once had in my possession the minutes of an RMSTI meeting which were held in Greenwich in the late 80's when an exhibit of artifacts debued there. In the minutes of this meeting, it is mentioned that the French were working at developing an underwater cutting tool which could be fitted to Nautile. It was also mentioned that cutting into the hull may be necessary for the "rescue" of the artifacts given the speed at which the wreck was deteriorating. Even way back then they were talking about the wreck falling in on itself! Nice work Yuri. Kind regards, Steve Santini.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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<snort> Given the deterioration of the wreck, I would think that any attempt at cutting into the hull when you don't know what's holding it together would be a pretty dicey venture. How Dicey?

Can you spell s-u-i-c-i-d-a-l???

I knew you could!
wink.gif


Cordially,
Michael H. Standart

(Message edited by mstandart on April 11, 2002)
 
Mar 3, 1998
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I have viewed much of the video shot by Cameron during his 2001 expedition. The wreck is deteriorating, and the damage appears to be the result of natural causes, not because of man-made intrusion. Cameron covered the wreck, both bow and stern sections, quite thoroughly. Nowhere have I seen anything that looks like it was acted upon by a cutting torch. Remember, RMSTI's legal sanctions have not prohibited tourist dives to the wreck...their work down there cannot be kept entirely secret. I'm also of the opinion that the Russians would love to discover evidence of foul play by RMSTI, as a kind of payback for all the Mir fragments on display at RMSTI exhibits.

This is not to say that RMSTI doesn't have a game plan for ripping the hull open. If they knew the specific location of unrecovered wealth, who knows what they might have done (or will do)?

I say this again, the wreck is deteriorating. I take no joy in saying this. Ken described the condition quite accurately, but every one will be able to judge for themselves when "Ghosts of the Abyss" makes it to theatres (assuming certain scenes make the final cut). If you read Ken's report carefully, you'll note that there is no expected treasure in the areas that show the most dramatic deterioration.

Parks
 
Mar 3, 1998
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I may have worded a sentence above in such a way that my intent might be misconstrued. When I said that the deterioriation did not appear to result from man-made intrusion, I meant by dramatic intrusion, as in cutting open the hull. There is plenty of evidence to support the assertion that the numerous visits to the wreck have stimulated the destructive organisms inhabiting the wreck to increased activity. There is also evidence of damage caused to the wreck by submersible landings, inadvertent strikes, etc.

Parks
 
Jul 14, 2000
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Wow Nathan, that's a blast from the past! That post is over a year and a half old!

I appreciate all the comments in support of my opinion from everyone. But I need to update some points since this thing has crawled back out of the wine cellar.

Since making that post, I've realized many new details about the condition of the Titanic wreck, and its discovery, that have caused me to mature in my thinking about the subject. First, I no longer believe in the possibility of any 'conspiracy' on the part of anyone to try to cover up any damage to the wreck as a result of invasive salvage techniques. I've always felt that RMST has been less than forthcoming with the pictures of the wreck, and their salvage operations. That seemed to indicate that maybe there's something to hide, such as damage to the wreck from exploration, or accidents. But I've heard other descriptions of the wreck from sources I trust, like Mr. Marschall, which convince me that the deterioration of the wreck is due mostly to time and physics.
Not to say that human exploration hasn't left its mark on the ship though. But not anything that would make the morning papers, like explosives, or torches.

Secondly, I no longer feel that RMST originally set out to gain sole ownership of the wreck just so they could exploite it secretly, while under the guise of collecting 'artifacts' for history's sake.
I now know that while a few individuals involved may have had that idea as a possibility in their minds, there was no 'conspiracy' on the part of George Tulloch, or RMST as a whole to try to gain control of the wreck and keep others out in an effort to hide the truth of what they were really doing down there. RMST was aggresive, in my opinion overly aggresive, in its efforts to protect what it viewed as its property. But one just can't erect a fence in the ocean intending to keep others out. Especially concerning the Titanic.
I now believe that all RMST did was send expeditions down to the debris field so as to collect any and all items it could find, much as one would pick up spilled coins from a parking lot, in hopes that they would sooner or later come across something of tremendous value. Perhaps if RMST had not run out of money, they would have finished searching the debris field and then considered returning to search about inside the ship's hull. But why risk an ROV, sub, and crew in an effort to search for treasure inside the teacherously destroyed interiors of Titanic, when there were thousands of items laying across the ocean floor, ripe for the picking? No business sense there.

I'm not trying to turn 180 degrees here from my original opinions. But I must confess I no longer see RMST as the force of evil I once did. I'm not thrilled with their activities then, or now. They have caused controversy, endless legal actions, and a division among Titanic enthusiasts worldwide, concerning the Titanic and her legacy.

But most of all, in my humble opinion, RMST has created a self promoting, money making circus spectacle which sensationalizes the tragic loss of that ship, and deminishes the true horror that was experienced by the people involved that night, and by the rest of the world when the news broke the next day. All done using rotten fragments of the ship, and belongings of people who died on Titanic. You don't memorialize the victims of such a tragedy by putting their dishes and luggage on display and sell tickets to it like a movie. You build monuments in parks, decorate the graveyard with flowers, or start a charity fund for the surviors. That's how you do something to honor the dead in my book.

If RMST is guilty of just one thing, then its guilty of having very little in the way of tact, or respect for the memory of those who lost their lives, and the families who would want them to rest in peace.
 
Mar 3, 1998
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Yuri,

I guess this should be a lesson to check the dates in the original post. I can't keep a constant watch on the site, so when the thread popped up, I had no idea it had lain dormant for a time.

One thing I know...right now, no one has the money to mount another expedition to the wreck. Both RMSTI and tourist dives have been suspended for an indefinite period, due to lack of funds. Looks like Titanic will sleep peacefully throughout 2002, maybe longer.

Be aware, though, that even if left alone, the ship's deterioration will continue unabated. I am afraid that some wonders caught by the 2001 expedition will be buried by the time another expedition can be mounted. Personally, I need a closer look at the Marconi equipment. My fear, though, is that the roof over the Officers' Quarters may collapse (like the one over the Gymnasium) before I have an opportunity for a second look.

Parks
 
Jan 7, 2002
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Fascinating thread!!! Thanks Parks for your presense on this post, your contributions are always of the highest interest.
Im a tad biased in favor of the Titanic exhibitions, as I worked at a few in the past, having seen the emotional reaction people have when viewing the artifacts up close. If people cant be brought to Titanic, the RMSTI Titanic exhibits bring Titanic to them. Eventually I hope the technology becomes available so everyone will be able to visit the wreck where she lies today- people should be able to go down via sub, pay respects, or do research, then leave.
At the RMSTI Titanic exhibits, when people touched the davit or the Big Piece, it was for many even more rewarding than visiting the wreck via a sub, because there was physical contact with that piece of history...Of course such speaks mainly of the emotional value of the exhibits, not the economic value. There is no denying that the artifacts are worthy of being exhibitied in a museum forum, but the daunting question may be how the artifacts are gathered, and how they should be catologed.
Many artifacts are already up, so we need to deal with those, and god willing, they will find homes in a proper museum.

I have always assumed there was a contract of exclusicvity between RMSTI and Discovery Channel, so that any footage of the wreck could only be released through a Dicovery release. As a result, we'd have to wait for the heavily edited Discovery special to see new Titanic footage, whenever such rariteies were issued at all....Plus the Discovery people no doubt felt all we want to see are images of the forepeak, hence the endless shots of the bow section of the ship.

I do hope in the future all footage of the interior of the wreck is properly cataloged, archived, and made accessable by Titanic researchers. If the footage of the interior is not cataloged and is never accessable- then what can be learned about exploring the wreck? Im convinced interior footage could be used to help create a 3D computer model of the interior of the ship, determining where cabin walls still stand, where wood remains, etc. Such could be invalauable to furture explorers, serving as reference guides on knowing which area have not been explored, and which areas have been covered at nausium. Not to use footage in this manner runs the risk of wasting time refilming the same areas over and over again, and getting lost when exploring the interior.

I doubt RMSTI ever had the technology to cut into the wreck and recover things, or the money to afford such technology. In 1998 the T Rex camera probe would have filmed the interior, but Discovery redid the specs without the blessings of the designer, seriously hindering the abilities of the device. So there was trouble filming the ship, much less recovering things. RMSTI lacked the technolgy or the expertise to reach into the bowels of the wreck to recover what lies within....Though in 2000, RMSTI did want to recover an anchor, the brass capstan covers and other knick knacks, but luckily the technology was not there, rendering such destructive goals impossible. Such would never have been contemplated prior to the Nov 1999 takeover of RMSTI.

I dont believe the brittle steel theory for a second , and remember when a small part of the Big Piece was cut off in Boston for testing purposes, it took nearly 10 minutes for someone to cut a hand sized piece off with a diamond edged circular saw. The steel was solid, bright silver,very heavy, and not pitted at all. Though Im totally in favor of artifact recovery, I see the claims the ship will 'turn to dust in 20 years' as propaganda, and a rationization to recover as many things as possible in a short time. I think the wreck has many decades before she'll cave in on herself...
But there are some who would like to see things from the interior recovered. I doubt there is anything of value, outside of the great historic value of the ship. Titanic was a passenger ship, with an unremarkable cargo. The greatest treasure we could recover is film footage of her interior. If the ship is indeed going to cave in on itself, lets film the bowels of the ship before such regions crumble away...
RMSTI was a for profit company, but prior to the Nov 1999 takeover, a host of scientists and historians succeed in making important findings regarding the forensics of the sinking, and the biology that exists at that depth.

I beleve in my heart Mr Tulloch was steadfast in his convictions of honoring the memory of Titanic, and realised the importance of exploration, and preserving these artifacts for future generations. After the coup' in Nov 1999, Mr Gellar assumed control, and exercised a slash and burn appraoch to the company. The new administration at RMSTI wants to squeeze as much profit out of the company, at the expese of the company's own survival. Clearly the current RMSTI bigwhigs do not care about Titanic, but those deposed certainly did care.....

So where so we go from here? I hope Mr Gellar can be removed, and some semblance of order and sanity return to RMSTI.

I wonder too- had the schism never happened between Ballard and the French, would Ballard have gotten involved with Titanic artifact recovery? He originaly expressed interest that one day artifacts could be recovered from the wreck and exhibited in a museum, but once Titanic Ventures (later called RMS Titanic Inc) appeared on the scene, he changed his tune, voicing the opinion that nothing should be recovered. ..

Remember the Titanic!!

regards

Tarn Stephanos
 
Jul 14, 2000
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Parks,

I'm just happy that Titanic was found, and so well documented in my lifetime. Even if no further expeditions to the wreck, or discoveries are ever made, I'll die satisfied that at least I was able to see color pictures of her beautiful hull. I remember what it was like before she was discovered in 1985, all I knew of her was from the few B&W pictures I'd found in the one or two books about her at the local library. Most of my knowledge about her turned out to be myth, or just plain wrong. I never imagined that someday I'd actually see so many pictures of her, so many new books, so many TV specials, and so many other people like me who found her story oddly compelling. So I guess I'm just thankful for having been able to learn so much more about Titanic. If no one had ever bothered to look for her, she'd probably still be just a collection of misconceptions, and legends in my imagination.

I hope the editing is going well. Any new tidbids to share with the group from what you've seen so far?

Yuri
 
Mar 3, 1998
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Yuri & Tarn,

I too am glad the wreck was discovered, but with every bit of information, there is more that I want to know. Now that I've seen this, I want to see that. It seems that with every question answered, another pops up in its place. I'm spoiled by the work of those who have gone down there and brought back information, artefacts and images.

As with anything else, there is no black and white. The superstructure and upper decks of the bow section are deteriorating badly. Anything in the superstructure is in danger of being buried. With the hull structure, there is more strength. That will last much longer. So, yes...the Big Piece is made of strong stuff. However, I have seen how fragile the roof over the Officers' Quarters is. When I talk about my fears about collapse in the wreck, I'm not talking about the whole shebang imploding at once. I'm referring to one or two places of high interest that we could lose at any time.

Having said that, there are worrisome signs of stress deep within the hull...deformations of decks and deck supports. The height of C and D Decks narrowing in spots. Certainly, the wreck will be there for decades to come, but I think what we're talking about losing here is the relatively intact condition that we've become accustomed to.

Parks
 
Aug 29, 2000
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Gentlemen- I echo all the sentiments expressed above. Having been in court to hear Judge Clarke's decision back in 1987 (and VERY thankful not be called to testify after all), I am glad to hear today that the decision in Norfolk supports his ruling. George Tulloch's steadfast goal was a permanent museum (New York being the preferred choice)- it nearly happened; I hope it still may. I have every expectation that there will be a major changing of the guard at RMST in the near future. The saga continues....
 

Bill Willard

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Mar 24, 2001
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Okay Yuri, I have some questions about your suppositions in your first post. Knowing these answers is tatamount to your theory. I'll answer them based on what I've researched later.

Question 1: What was the agreement between Ballard and IFREMER?

Question 2: How much of Ballard's debt did TVLP (the old name of RMSTI) have to pay before IFREMER would work with them? (Yes, RMSTI had to pay off a significant portion of Ballard's debt)

Question 3: What is the specifcs about the claim regarding Jean Louis Michel? (that the French really discovered Titanic instead of Ballard)

Question 4: When was the decision made to cut the Big Piece into two sections, and why?

Question 5: You state RMSTI came up with the "brittle steel" theory. Didn't that theory originally surface in the 60's?

Question 6: You are quoted from above, ",RMST was seeing its costs rise and no real "Killer Profit" was being made as was expected. Even after raising the 'big piece' and completely restoring the whistles, RMST suffered from a low public opinion, negative company image and worse, low profit. Its stock went public and plumeted into the dumper." This is an interesting statement. In mid 1999, stocks were at the $3.50 range. RMSTI's bank account had a $3.5 million dollar balance (it's highest) and had just signed an $8 million-plus exhibition deal with SFX. Attendance at the exhibits skyrocketed, and were very high due to the hype of the movie, plus very good promtion in the cities. Memphis had 600,000 attendees, St. Pete had 800,000, and so forth. What evidence do you base your quote on?

Question 7: You mention the change in leadership in November 1999. The leadership changed because the direction of the company wasn't bringing certain dissident shareholders the profit they envisioned. They stepped in, changed the direction of the company, changed the mission and the philosophy of the company. Yet you state, "A company reorganization ensued and new plans were developed to make the company finally realize its goal. A new expedition was planned for the summer of 2000. This trip was intended to be the one that saved the company from financial ruin, and acheive the ultimate goal of the company that had eluded it since 1985.
This summer, RMST was to finally begin tearing into the hull of Titanic. Its mission, to find the millions of dollars in jewelry, gold, or whatever else might lay inside the ship's holds." If it were the plan all along, why didn't RMSTI attempt significant bow entry up to that point, but to the contrary, announced a 'hands-off' policy on bow-artifact recovery?

I'll re-load while you ponder these a few minutes!!

By the way, we talked in Florence about your cousin near us. It's Ancheaux's. And it's very good.

Interesting topic you started here, Yuri!
 
Jul 14, 2000
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Hi Bill,

Here are the few answers I can provide right now to your questions. I have to assume that you realize that my original post is VERY old and that I no longer endorse those statements. I also should point out that back then I viewed Dr. Ballard as the good guy explorer who had found the Titanic, only to have the evil money interests of RMST, supported by the French IFREMER, steal the wreck away from Dr. Ballard, and the world. A very naive perception on my part, but hey, I was new to all this.

So before I get caught up in a dinner party where my buns are getting roasted on the grill, I just want to make clear that those original comments were based as much on my own personal biases at the time, as any facts. Again, Nathan resurected this one out of the tomb of forgotten posts, and is as much a surprise to me as anyone else. I would never make a post like that today, offering the possibilities of such secret misconduct.

Still, I have very few positive things to say about RMST even today. I just feel that the removal of items from wreck site, to be showcased around the world, is distastful and disrespectful to the people who died. I would have preferred that the wreck site be left undisturbed and preserved as it was originally found. Pictures of dishes on the seabed speaks more to me than seeing the same plate on display in a glass case.

But you asked, so I'll try to answer. Just know that I'm not willing to argue the merits of my original post, because after a year and a half to think about it, I don't see a lot of merit there to begin with. Just a lot of personal opinion.

Ok? Here goes:

Okay Yuri, I have some questions about your suppositions in your first post. Knowing these answers is tatamount to your theory. I'll answer them based on what I've researched later.

Question 1: What was the agreement between Ballard and IFREMER? I believe that Dr. Ballard's team (Woods Hole), had agreed not to release the valuable first pictures of Titanic to the press until the IFREMER had done so first. Unfortunately, Woods Hole broke that agreement and released the photos first, leaving IFREMER with egg on its face, and a bunch of worthless photos.

Question 2: How much of Ballard's debt did TVLP (the old name of RMSTI) have to pay before IFREMER would work with them? (Yes, RMSTI had to pay off a significant portion of Ballard's debt)
This is news to me. I didn't know Ballard had sponsored any of the costs of the expedition. It was my understanding that the US Navy had foot the bill for the Woods Hole team.

Question 3: What is the specifcs about the claim regarding Jean Louis Michel? (that the French really discovered Titanic instead of Ballard)
The IFREMER team performed the first half of the expedition using side-scanning sonar. They originally thought that Titanic had alluded them, but after Titanic had been found a closer review of the IFREMER sonar search data showed what likely was parts of the Titanic wreck debris. These smaller targets were never investigated because at the time they were collected, the IFREMER wasn't looking for small targets, it was looking for one BIG target called Titanic. There is also the part of the story where Jean Louis Michel was the explorer on duty in the control room at the time the first ANGUS video appeared showing the items from the debris field. Ballard was sleeping at the moment and had to be fetched to the control room. But the downfall to this argument is that JLM was on the Woods Hole boat, using the American equipment, and following Dr. Ballard's search techniques.
Of course the truth is that since it was a joint expedition from the onset, both IFREMER and Woods Hole have equal claim to finging the Titanic.

Question 4: When was the decision made to cut the Big Piece into two sections, and why? Its my understanding that the Big Piece was actually a complex piece of the ship with joints between the outer hull and interior bulkheads. This caused the piece to twist, bend, and be unstable, making it difficult to handle. So I ASSUME they cut it up to solve this problem. I don't know when the decision to do this was made.

Question 5: You state RMSTI came up with the "brittle steel" theory. Didn't that theory originally surface in the 60's?
Duuuhhh. The first I heard about it was on the Discovery Channel Special I saw where that idea was put forward. If it originated in the 60's then I guess its not such a 'new' theory after all.

Question 6: You are quoted from above, ",RMST was seeing its costs rise and no real "Kill
er Profit" was being made as was expected. Even after raising the 'big piece' and completely restoring the whistles, RMST suffered from a low public opinion, negative company image and worse, low profit. Its stock went public and plumeted into the dumper." This is an interesting statement. In mid 1999, stocks were at the $3.50 range. RMSTI's bank account had a $3.5 million dollar balance (it's highest) and had just signed an $8 million-plus exhibition deal with SFX. Attendance at the exhibits skyrocketed, and were very high due to the hype of the movie, plus very good promtion in the cities. Memphis had 600,000 attendees, St. Pete had 800,000, and so forth. What evidence do you base your quote on?
Well, at the time I thought that RMST was expecting to make hundreds of millions of dollars, have a big nice corporate headquarters, and eventually build a world class museum to base its collection of booty. Frankly it was my opinion that $3.50/share for stock, and a few million in the bank was beans compared to what the company had originally envisioned. I didn't say the company was seeing NO profit, just LOW profit. Meaning the fantastic growth and profit for its investors just wasn't panning out, even with the high attendence figures. Further meaning that by fall of 1999 RMST was turning out to be all hat and no cattle. My only sources for these ideas was the PBS special that came out a couple of years ago which detailed the mis-fortunes of the company, and the articles coming from the Viginia-Pilot reporter Marc Davis.


Question 7: You mention the change in leadership in November 1999. The leadership changed because the direction of the company wasn't bringing certain dissident shareholders the profit they envisioned. They stepped in, changed the direction of the company, changed the mission and the philosophy of the company. Yet you state, "A company reorganization ensued and new plans were developed to make the company finally realize its goal. A new expedition was planned for the summer of 2000. This trip was intended to be the one that saved the company from financial ruin, and acheive the ultimate goal of the company that had eluded it since 1985.
This summer, RMST was to finally begin tearing into the hull of Titanic. Its mission, to find the millions of dollars in jewelry, gold, or whatever else might lay inside the ship's holds." If it were the plan all along, why didn't RMSTI attempt significant bow entry up to that point, but to the contrary, announced a 'hands-off' policy on bow-artifact recovery?
At the time of my post I felt strongly that RMST had probably already already tried invasive exploration and was just trying to cover it up with pro-Titanic PR work. I knew the RMST wanted to go into Titanic and strip mine it as of the Summer of 2000, but I wondered if maybe it hadn't already started that quest long ago and hadn't bothered to tell anyone. Thus the motive for withholding photos and video of their salvage operations at the wreck, and their desire to keep others away from the wreck totally.

Again, these issues are basically moot now because I don't support them 100% anymore.
But I hope I provided enough explaination to satisfy your questions. Good to hear from you Bill. I enjoyed our dinner in SC very much and it was a pleasure to meet you and your lovely wife. Its cool to know what a small world we live in when my family's cafe is in your home town. I do hope we can get together again soon.

All the best.
Yuri
 
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Nathan Lee Casteel

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Very interesting Yuri and we will just wait to see how the saga of the Titanic's future will turn out and I hope that we hear some new info in the near future regarding the Titanic's future.
 
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