Tuesday, March 24, 2009

'Titanic' wreck's ownership finally in good hands

The debate over who 'owns' the wreck of the RMS 'Titanic' has been raging ever since its discovery by Dr. Ballard in 1985; with the ship's original owners now long-gone and the wreck sinking and residing in international waters outside of any country or organisation's jurisdiction, many companies and crews have tried to claim ownership of the wreck and its artifacts that have been hauled to the surface over the years.

Well, this stupid debate is finally about to be settled once and for all: a federal judge is on the verge of ruling that the ship and its artifacts must be united, and accessible to the public.

U.S. District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith, a maritime jurist who considers the wreck an "international treasure," is expected to rule within weeks that the salvaged items must remain together and accessible to the public. That would ensure the 5,900 pieces of china, ship fittings and personal belongings won't end up in a collector's hands or in a London auction house, where some Titanic artifacts have landed.

The judgment could also end the legal tussle that began when a team of deep-sea explorers found the world's most famous shipwreck in 1985.

Truly excellent news. No-one should be the sole proprietor of the shipwreck or its artifacts; the 'Titanic' is a human tragedy, an event to be remembered, far more than it is an actual object or structure to be owned by anyone with the money to ascertain their greediness.

Plus, this is the court ruling that keeps on giving:

At the same time, a cadre of government lawyers is helping Smith shape covenants to strictly monitor future activity at the Titanic wreck beneath the surface of the Atlantic. Amid evidence of the ship's deterioration, experts and government lawyers say the sanctity of the Titanic must be properly protected as a memorial to the 1,522 people who died when it went down.

I couldn't applaud this more. Human activity has already much progressed the deterioration of the wreck, from crushed roofs to torn railings and many smaller (but no less significant) damages to the wreck here and there, including knocking the iconic Crow's Nest off the foremast. This is no more respectful than pissing on someone's tombstone IMO, for that's just what the 'Titanic' wreck is: a grave to the 1,500 poor bastards who lost their lives that night.

Anyway, as those following this debate as I have can come to expect, the wretchedly greedy RMS Titanic Inc. isn't about to let it go so easily.

The salvage company, RMS Titanic Inc., wants the court to grant it limited ownership of the artifacts.

That may be all this source article says, but it's been a long fight that RMST has waged in trying to be granted ownership of both the artifacts, and the wreck itself. Greedy bastards. I couldn't be more opposed to this. Hopefully, Judge Smith's ruling of 'Titanic's sanctity should squash these buggers once and for all.

After all, as Dr. Jones would have doubtlessly said: 'They belong in a museum!'.


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