Titanic plundrad?

Har Titanic blivit plundrad?
Bilden är från en tidigare expedition.

Diskussion angående bärningsrättigheterna

Just nu pågår det en diskussion om ifall obehöriga har varit nere vid Titanics vrak. Företaget RMS Titanic Inc har haft rättigheterna till att bärga föremål från Titanic sedan 1994, men nu pågår det rykten om att obehöriga har varit nere vid Titanics vrak hösten 2002. Dock finns det inga bevis ännu för att föremål har tagits upp. Vissa menar att RMS Titanic Incs monopol på att bärga föremål från Titanic leder till att vraket inte blir tillräckligt utforskat och att vi missar viktig historisk information. Andra menar att ifall RMS Titanic Inc ger upp rättigheterna så kommer Titanic plundras på föremål. Bärgade föremål från Titanic är världa miljontals med dollar.

På forumet Encyclopedia-Titanica pågår det nu en debatt om plundringarna och ifall RMS Titanic Inc måste ge upp sitt bärgningsmonopol.

Titanic artifacts may have been plundered
By MARC DAVIS , The Virginian-Pilot
© March 23, 2003

NORFOLK — A pirate ship from England may have plundered the Titanic in violation of a Norfolk court order. Rumors of the illegal salvage operation surfaced in November in Norfolk’s federal court. Since then, a Portsmouth maritime lawyer has investigated the rumors and concluded they may be true.

In letters to Norfolk’s federal court, lawyer Mark S. Davis said evidence suggests that a Florida company may have used a ship from England and a submarine from France to salvage pieces of the Titanic in November and December.

That would be illegal. In 1994, Norfolk’s federal court awarded sole salvage rights to R.M.S. Titanic Inc., currently based in Atlanta. Those salvage rights are supposed to be recognized worldwide.

But there are no shipwreck police in the North Atlantic, where the Titanic lies, about 400 miles off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada, and Titanic artifacts are worth millions of dollars. The Titanic sank on its maiden voyage in 1912 after hitting an iceberg, killing 1,500 passengers and crewmen.

Four nations — the United States, Canada, Britain and France — have tried to outlaw the Titanic’s salvage, but an international agreement is still unsigned. The Titanic was discovered in 1985 by a joint American-French expedition.

Last year, R.M.S. Titanic announced that it wants to give up its salvage rights, but has not yet done so. Meanwhile, Norfolk’s federal judges warned the company in November that it must protect the Titanic from pirates until the court relieves the company of that responsibility.

That warning led Davis, the company’s attorney, to investigate rumors of a pirate expedition. He reported his findings in recent letters to the court.

According to the letters, the company that may have illegally salvaged the Titanic is Ocean Resources Inc., based in Palm Beach, Fla. Its president, Graham Jessop, is former salvage master of R.M.S. Titanic. He could not be reached for comment.

There is no proof that anyone plundered the Titanic, but several pieces of evidence supplied by Davis in his letters point in that direction:

Two e-mails from France confirm thata submarine was at the Titanic site this fall. A French company, L.D. TravOcean Ltd., owns a small unmanned submarine that is capable of reaching the Titanic, which lies 2Ö miles under the ocean surface. Onlya few subs worldwide have such capabilities.

In one e-mail, TravOcean executive Jean Michel Berud acknowledged to an R.M.S. Titanic stockholder that the French sub had visited the Titanic from October to December, but he did not indicate whether any salvage was conducted.

In another, more recent email exchange, Davis asked Berud whether the French submarine had dived to the Titanic. Berud’s cryptic e-mail reply: ‘‘We’ve confidential agreement, we’ll not be able to tell you anything on this subject.’’

Davis concluded, in a letter to the court, ‘‘This e-mail suggests there may be something to the rumors we have heard.’’ Davis tracked the English ship, the Northern Horizon, through port calls in England, Canada and Bermuda in November and December.

He concluded, ‘‘There may bea possibility that the vessel visited the wreck site, but the time frames are very tight. .. particularly given the weather in the North Atlantic.’’

A government satellite photo shows a ship at the Titanic site sometime in the fall of 2002.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration does not know whether the ship was just passing through or was stationary over the shipwreck. The agency is trying to find more information, Davis told the court. Davis said he received unspecified information that suggested the Northern Horizon was at the Titanic wreck site sometime from October to December.

‘‘The rumor also suggested that salvage may have taken place in the bow of the wreck using a remotely operated vehicle,’’ Davis wrote.

Finally, Davis reported last month that recent reports suggest the Northern Horizon may be planning a visit to the Titanic in March.

That is now unlikely. British marshals seized the ship on Feb. 27 over a disputed debt. No arrangements have been made for the ship’s release, Davis reported.

Davis said earlier this month that he was still investigating the rumors of illegal salvaging. His last report to the court was on March 11. ‘‘I’ve told the court whatI know,’’ Davis said.

If the pirate ship really did salvage the Titanic, Norfolk’s federal judges probably will be angry. They warned R.M.S. Titanic in November that the company will be held responsible for policing the wreck.

The judges’ anger is likely to be compounded if Ocean Resources — which is run by former colleagues of R.M.S. Titanic President Arnie Geller — was the salvor. The court has not released R.M.S. Titanic ‘‘of its responsibility as sole salvor-in-possession,’’ U.S. District Judge J. Calvitt Clarke Jr. warned company officials on Nov. 25.

‘‘We do understand the court’s concern,’’ Davis replied. ‘‘We have the same concern.’’

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