U.S. Govt Seeks To Block Titanic Expedition Aimed To Retrieve Historical Artefacts

The U.S. seeks to prevent the planned expedition aimed at recovering artefacts from the Titanic wreckage next year, asserting the vessel’s designation as a revered burial site per law and also international agreement.

RMS Titanic Inc. is a leading firm that boasts exclusive salvage rights to the Titanic wreck. The firm has organised an uncrewed expedition to capture detailed photographs of the vessel and explore the hull.

Representation Image

Per the Associated Press, the government is encountering a legal challenge unrelated to the Titan sub incident in June. The sub imploded when it was close to a sunken ocean liner, resulting in the death of five individuals. However, the ongoing legal tussle is centred on a different firm and vessel with an unusual design. It is essential to note that the two incidents are not connected.

The U.S. District Court in Virginia’s Norfolk oversees the lawful battle for the Titanic salvage.

The government has declared that RMST’s plan to enter the vessel’s severed hull would violate federal law and a pact with Great Britain. Per the government, the sunken vessel should be treated as a memorial to the 1,500 individuals who passed away when the Titanic rammed into an iceberg and submerged while crossing the Atlantic in 1912.

Besides, the government is significantly worried about the impairment of artefacts and human remains on the ship.

RMST isn’t free to disregard the validity enacted by the federal law, yet that’s its intent, the U.S. lawyers argued in court documents that were filed on Friday. They added that the shipwreck would be deprived of the protections Congress had granted.

RMST plans on capturing photographs of the whole wreck in their tentative expedition of May 2024. RMST mentioned in a court filing that the mission would be to gather artefacts from the debris field and free-standing objects in the wreck.

RMST would collaborate with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. agency representing public interest in the wreck, but wouldn’t seek a permit.

The lawyers of the US government argued that RMST needs prior approval from the secretary of commerce supervising NOAA before going ahead with the assignment.

RMST earlier challenged the constitutionality of the U.S. trying to interfere with salvage rights to a wreckage in the international waters.

References: SCMP, USA Today, The New York Times, CBS News

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