01/Aug/2014 - Last News Update: 05:47

US firm awarded $110m for salvaging Titanic artefacts

Category: Headlines

Published: 14th Aug 2010 00:36:56

A judge has awarded a US exhibition company $110m for salvaging artefacts from the wreck of the RMS Titanic.

The US federal judge ruled that RMS Titanic Inc, which displays the artefacts in museums across the world, is entitled to their full market value.

The court will decide whether to grant the company ownership of the objects or sell them and give it the proceeds.

The ship sank on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York on 14 April, 1912, killing more than 1,500 people.

RMS Titanic Inc, a subsidiary of Premier Exhibitions Inc, has undertaken seven expeditions to the wreck site 2.5 miles (4km) below the north Atlantic, and has retrieved more than 5,500 artefacts.

The Belfast-built ship sank about 400 miles off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada, two hours after hitting an iceberg. It was discovered in 1985 by an expedition led by Dr Robert Ballard.

A US court granted the company salvage rights to the vessel in 1994 but explicitly stated it did not grant ownership of the wreck or the artefacts. The company has displayed the artefacts in museums across the world.

In Virginia on Thursday, US District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith found the company's monumental effort to reach the wreck and to retrieve, conserve and exhibit the artefacts entitled it to the monetary award.

"The salvage of the Titanic has involved unprecedented feats of skill and dedication," she wrote.

In deciding the 17-year old case, Judge Smith wrote she had relied on marine salvage law that had its genesis in ancient Greece 3,000 years ago.

She allowed the company to continue to display the artefacts but did not grant the company ownership of them.

She gave herself until 15 August, 2011 to decide whether to sell the artefacts through the court and give the company the proceeds or to give the company title to the objects after setting conditions for their maintenance and future disposition.

"We are very pleased with the decision of the court and believe it reflects the extensive efforts of the company to embrace its role of salvor-in-possession of Titanic," Christopher Davino, Premier Exhibitions, Inc's president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

In praising the company's effort, Judge Smith noted the company had invented 20 specialised instruments to retrieve fragile artefacts from the sea bed, including a vacuum and a flat shovel used to retrieve a stained-glass window.

She also noted the great peril its submarine crews had faced on the dives, pointing out that the pressure at the sea floor reaches 6,300 pounds per square inch, and any significant damage to the hull would mean instant death.

And she cited evidence the Titanic is fast deteriorating on the sea floor, with the eventual collapse of the hull imperilling the artefacts.

"The Titanic artefacts were previously lost on the bottom of the ocean, depriving the public of all social utility in their historic symbolism and cultural beauty," she wrote. "Instead, RMS Titanic has recovered those items from a fate of being lost to future generations."

BBC News External Link Show Citation

Latest News

Harvard Citation

BBC News, 2010. US firm awarded $110m for salvaging Titanic artefacts [Online] (Updated 14th Aug 2010)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/81794/US-firm-awarded-110m-for-salvaging-Titanic-artefacts [Accessed 1st Aug 2014]

News In Other Categories

  • China manufacturing growth speeds up

    China's factory activity grew at its fastest pace in more than two years in July, indicating that the country's economy may be stabilising.
  • New rules on rural school closures come into force

    New rules on school closures have come into force across Scotland.
  • Usain Bolt & Glasgow 2014: The life of a sprint superstar

    Whether or not Usain Bolt did get caught out criticising these Commonwealth Games - the reporter insists, the athlete vehemently denies - the subsequent headlines were another indication that life for Bolt is not like that for any other athlete.
  • Bristol Academy extends reach overseas with first foreign students

    With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
  • 'See-through' bodies technique developed

    A way to turn an entire body transparent has been developed by scientists studying rodents.
  • Express Motors staff in Penygroes arrested in fraud investigation

    Five people arrested by North Wales Police in connection with a fraud investigation work for a Gwynedd bus company, BBC Wales understands.