Friday, 18 October, 2019

Titanic explorers' dive reveals 'shocking' state of wreck

Harland and Wolff shipyard in administration The team of explorers completed the first manned expedition to the wreckage of the Titanic in 14 years More
Patty Aguilar | 22 August, 2019, 18:37

For the first time in almost 15 years, explorers dive down to the Titanic and captured images that show some of the wrecks is deteriorating rapidly.

Explorers on the first manned voyage to the wreckage of the stricken liner discovered that the ship's hull has partially collapsed thanks to salt corrosion and metal-eating bacteria.

Titanic historian Parks Stephenson described the deterioration of the officer's quarters as "shocking", noting that the captain's quarters had also fallen victim to the ravages of time and the sea.

"The captain's bath tub is a favourite image among the Titanic enthusiasts, and that's now gone", he said.

The exploration team made five dives to the Titanic over a period of eight days. "That whole deck house on that side is collapsing".

Using specially modified 4K cameras to capture footage of the Titanic "in a way it's never been seen before", the crew found that the wreck has deteriorated significantly since it was last explored. The deterioration will only continue. The ship's hull has partially collapsed and the Captain's quarters have also been washed away.

The Titanic was meant to be unsinkable, but it crashed into an iceberg and sank on its maiden voyage in 1912. Whilst on the site, the team laid a wreath and held a short ceremony in honour of those who lost their lives in 1912.

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"The wreck itself is the only witness we've now got of the Titanic disaster", maritime historian Robert Blyth from the National Maritime Museum in the United Kingdom, who wasn't involved with the expedition, told the BBC.

Navigating the sub around the wreck, which lies in two main pieces about 600m apart, was challenging.

Victor Vescovo, CEO of Caladan Oceanic, the private company behind the expedition, said: "It's a big wreck, I wasn't quite prepared for how large it was".

Vescovo continued: "It was extraordinary to see it all, and the most wonderful moment came when I was going along the side of the Titanic and the bright lights of the submersible reflected off a portal and came right back - it was like the ship was winking at me". Expedition scientist Clare Fitzsimmons, from Newcastle University, said it was a factor in the Titanic's decay. It was like the ship was winking at me.

In addition to the new high-resolution video, the expedition scientists surveyed the wreck using photogrammetry techniques, that in the future will enable 3D recreations of the Titanic in virtual and augmented reality.

The scientists of the expedition plan to publish the full results at a later date, alongside a documentary film which is being made by Atlantic Productions in London.

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