The company that owns the exclusive salvage rights to the Titanic shipwreck and the ship’s artifacts presented a map of the surrounding seabed in federal court on Saturday that shows where searchers have found the twisted remains of the submersible Titan.
The map, a mosaic of sonar images that have been annotated by experts at the company, RMS Titanic Inc., helps indicate how close the ship was to its intended destination when disaster struck.
The vehicle most likely exploded on the morning of Sunday, June 18, killing all five crew members. RMS Titanic’s director of underwater research was on the tourist submersible’s last dive as a guest of Titan’s owner, OceanGate.
The seabed map, attached to a legal file as an exhibit, shows the phantom sketch of Titanic’s bow section. It is one of the most celebrated features of the wreck as deep explorers over the decades have revealed the bow and forward railing in relatively good repair, standing upright and almost proud in the inky darkness.
In an interview, Brian A. Wainger, a lawyer for the rescuer, RMS Titanic Inc., said the map was based on private and public information available to the company. He added that he had shared the seafloor map with the U.S. Coast Guard, as well as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and that no federal agency had conveyed any concerns about the accuracy of the representation.
“This is, we believe, reliable data,” Mr. Wainger said.
In his July 8 court filing, Mr. Wainger also noted that the Maritime Board of Investigation, the arm of the Coast Guard investigating the disaster, will finish its detective work in about 12 to 18 months and then hold a public hearing. hearing where witnesses will provide. sworn testimony
The history of the Titanic is well known. After hitting an iceberg on its maiden voyage in 1912, the luxury liner broke in two and plunged more than two miles through the North Atlantic to its icy bottom.
The wreck of the Titanic was located in 1985, and in 1994 the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, located in Norfolk, Va., granted rescue rights to RMS Titanic. As the designated salvor, defined as a person or group engaged in the recovery of a ship or items lost at sea, RMS Titanic is overseen by the court, which has long monitored shipwreck cases.
Based in Atlanta, the company uses its salvage operations for a number of purposes, including setting up traveling exhibits of Titanic artifacts.
The map in the company’s archive shows a large dotted circle, labeled “Titan Debris Field”, in an area far to the right, or starboard side, of Titanic’s intact bow section. The map does not give other details, such as the size of the field. The map, however, calls the location approximate. The Coast Guard, when it announced on June 22 that the submarine Titanic had suffered a catastrophic implosion, said the debris field lay about 1,600 feet from Titanic’s bow.
Jessica Sanderschairman of RMS Titanic, said the seabed map was included in the legal filing as part of the company’s duty to inform the court of its activities and, in this case, how it cooperated with the Titanic investigation in the hours and days afterwards. the submersible is gone.
“We tried to help,” she said in an interview. “We gave them this map” so that investigators could better understand the seabed features around the Titanic and thus have a better chance of separating information about rocks and natural outcrops from possible evidence of the craft itself or its remains.
Ms Sanders said the map was drawn up in part by her employee who died in the Titanic disaster – Paul-Henri Nargeolet, 77, a French submersible expert and world authority on the Titanic, which was attempting its 38th dive to the wreckage. “So part of it was his,” she said, referring to the map. She added that a memorial service for Mr. Nargeolet will be held next week in Paris.
Rob McCallum, the founder of EYOS Expeditions, who has led seven trips to the sunken liner, said the map showed no unexpected features or clues. “Nothing unusual is coming out,” he said in an interview. The wreckage of the submersible Titan, he added, “is basically where it should have been.”