The wreck of the rms titanic
Most famous wreckage.
There is likely no other shipwreck in history that has drawn as much attention as the infamous Titanic. As the largest ship of its time, the vessel was an impressive 882 1/2 feet long and considered to be one of the most luxurious passenger ships every created. It was considered by some to be unsinkable because of its double bottom, chambered design. This misconception was quickly dismissed when just days after its departure, the Titanic sank due to hull damages caused by colliding with an iceberg.
Searching for the Titanic
On April 14th, 1912, the vessel sank to a depth of 12,415 feet. The tremendous loss of life and historical tragedy of the Titanic made it a popular topic of debate among deep sea explorers and archaeologists. The Titanic wreckage location was recorded as early as 1914. Plans to raise the wreckage were first organized by Charles Smith, an inventor and architect from Denver, Colorado. Smith's plan involved the use of large magnetic attached to submarines and barges. Due to the cost and concept of the idea, it was never put into place.
During the next 70 years, many ideas were conceived to raise the vessel from its deep sea grave. Many of these plans were quite absurd and it was later proven that these methods would have been ineffective. Some of these ideas would have successfully raised the vessel, but were just far too expensive to undertake without financial backing. Even with a viable method and finances to raise the Titanic wreckage, locating the ship at its great depth proved nearly impossible for explorers of the time.
Image of the Titanic wreck bathroom of the captain.
It wasn't until 1980 that expeditions even came close to locating the Titanic wreckage. Jack Grimm was the first near miss and lead several explorations of the North Atlantic sea in an effort to locate the remains of the ship. In 1981 Grimm's team returned to North America claiming they had found the Titanic after spotting a propeller in their search area. It was widely debated within the scientific community if they had in fact, located the ship's elusive wreckage.
Grimm returned to the research area in 1981 and could not locate the propeller a second time. This expedition further discredited his earlier claims that the Titanic's location had been found. Even though Grimm was mistaken, it is important to realize that oceanic drift, poor weather and equipment capabilities were all working against Grimm's methods of locating the ship's remains. Although the Grimm team did not officially find the wreckage location, their sonar mapping of the area contributed to future exploration and searches for the vessel.
One of the most crucial problems researchers faced was that their searches were based on the wrong GPS coordinates. These coordinates were the original location of distress calls received from the Titanic when impact occurred. Grimm's failure made it quite apparent that the ship's location was not accurately reported in 1912, or that oceanic drift had played a role in changing the location of the ships remains. Either way, this new information was used to correct past mistakes.
When they found the wreckage
Another previously failed Titanic explorer, Robert Ballard once again began searching for the ship's wreckage. This time with the assistance of newly developed deep sea submarine technology and the U.S. Navy. Ballard's research and development funding was supplied by the Navy and his official objectives were to locate sunken Navy submarines. His search for the Titanic, was a much more personal endeavor. Ballard gained the approval of the Navy to search for the Titanic using extra time after Navy objectives had been completed.
In 1985, with just 12 free days to search for the ship's wreckage, Ballard finally succeeded on the 1st of September. Using his submarine and deep sea camera Argo and Jason, he located the debris field of Titanic's remains. By the next day, Ballard and his team had officially located the ship's primary remains. Many repeat expeditions have been launched since then and a variety of artifacts and information has also been obtained.
2012 marks the 100 year anniversary of the Titanic's demise. Throughout the summer of 2012, diving exploration of the ship's wreckage was made available to the public. Up until recently, the Titanic's remains were not under the official jurisdiction of any particular country or government. The Titanic now lies at the GPS coordinates N41 43.91651 W49 56.74992.
Because of its age and historical significance, the Titanic is now protected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Due the public availability of the site and lack of jurisdiction, safeguarding the wreckage is important to preserving its historical importance.
The site has been looted and altered over the years, but this new protection of Titanic's remains will ensure that this type of activity does not continue. It may have taken 73 years to locate the ship's wreckage, but ensuring its protection took a century. The Titanic's wreckage site will remain to be a tragic, but highly valuable resource for historians and deep sea explorers around the world.