Norfolk, Virginia – The company that has recovered silverware, porcelain and gold coins from the remains of the Titanic now intends to take out the telegraph that transmitted the increasingly desperate distress messages from the ship before sinking.
The lawyers of R.M.S. Titanic Inc. presented witnesses on Thursday to explain to a judge why the company should be authorized to enter the remains of the ocean liner to remove the device before it is unrecoverable.
“It is an iconic device, like flares” launched from the Titanic when it sank, testified David Gallo, retired oceanographer of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and now a consultant paid by the firm.RELATED
Gallo, who testified before the federal court in Norfolk, Virginia, said that recovering the machine would not be a robbery, but a way to link people with the legacy of the ocean liner and honor their passengers.
Federal judge Rebecca Beach Smith, the maritime jurist who is president of the Titanic parts recovery issues, said it was too early for him to issue a decision. He said he needed more details and proposed to set another hearing for a future date.
The Titanic was traveling from England to New York when it collided with an iceberg at 11:40 p.m. on April 14, 1912. The huge luxury ocean liner transmitted distress messages with Marconi’s relatively new wireless radio system.
The messages were picked up by other ships and receiving stations on land. Some said: “We request immediate assistance” … “We collided with an ice floe and sank” … “We are putting women in the boats.”
The ship sank in less than three hours, and of the 2,208 people on board, only 700 survived.
An international team led by oceanographer Robert Ballard located the remains in 1985 on the North Atlantic seabed, about 645 kilometers (400 miles) from Newfoundland, Canada.
RMS Titanic Inc. alleges that the time to recover the telegraph is running out. The device is described as “the voice” of the Titanic that sent the last words of the ocean liner.
The machine was located in a compartment on the deck of the ship. A gym located on the other side of the stairs has collapsed. The roof above the telegraph has begun to pierce.