The company that holds the exclusive rights to salvage the wreck of the Titanic and artifacts from the ship filed a map of the surrounding seabed in federal court on Saturday showing where researchers found the twisted remains of the Titan submersible.
The map, a mosaic of sonar images that have been annotated by experts at the company, RMS Titanic Inc., helps indicate how close the craft was to its intended destination when the disaster struck.
The vehicle most likely imploded on the morning of Sunday 18 June, killing all five crew members. RMS Titanic’s director of underwater research was on the last dive of the tourist submersible as a guest of Titan’s owner, OceanGate.
The map of the seabed, attached to a legal deposit as it shows, it shows the ghostly outline of the bow section of the Titanic. It is one of the most celebrated features of the wreck because deep explorers over the decades have revealed the bow and forward railings to be in relatively good condition, standing and almost standing proud in the inky blackness.
In an interview, Brian A. Wainger, a Salvadoran lawyer, RMS Titanic Inc., said the map was based on private and public information available to the company. He added that he shared the seabed map with the US Coast Guard as well as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and that neither federal body had expressed doubts about the accuracy of the depiction.
“We think this is reliable data,” Wainger said.
In his July 8 court filing, Wainger also noted that the Marine Board of Investigation, the arm of the Coast Guard investigating the disaster, will wrap up its investigative work in about 12 to 18 months and then hold a hearing. public where witnesses will provide sworn testimony.
The story of the Titanic is well known. After hitting an iceberg on her maiden voyage in 1912, the luxury liner broke in two and plummeted more than two miles across the North Atlantic to her 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, Virginia, saving rights granted to the RMS Titanic. As a designated salvager, defined as a person or group engaged in the recovery of a ship or property lost at sea, the RMS Titanic is overseen by the court, which has long monitored wreck salvage cases.
Headquartered in Atlanta, the firm uses its salvage operations for a variety of purposes, including staging traveling exhibits of Titanic artifacts.
The map in the company file shows a large dotted circle, labeled “Titan Debris Field,” in an area to the right, or starboard side, of Titanic’s intact bow section. The map does not provide other details, such as field size. The map, however, indicates the approximate location. The Coast Guard, when it announced June 22 that the submersible Titan had suffered a catastrophic implosion, said the debris field was about 1,600 feet off the Titanic’s bow.
Jessica Sanderschairman of RMS Titanic, said the seabed map was included in the legal filing as part of the company’s obligation to keep the court informed of its activities and, in this case, how it cooperated in the Titan investigation in the hours and days later the submarine disappeared.
“We tried to help,” he said in an interview. “We gave them this map” so investigators could better understand the seabed features around the Titanic and thus have a better chance of separating information about natural rocks and outcrops from possible evidence of the vessel itself or the remains of her.
Ms Sanders said the map was developed in part by her employee who died in the Titan disaster: Paul-Henri Nargeolet, 77, a French submarine expert and global authority on the Titanic, who was trying to make his 38th wreck dive. “So part of it was him,” he said, referring to the map. She added that a memorial service for Mr. Nargeolet will be held in Paris next week.
Rob McCallum, the founder of EYOS Expeditions, who led seven voyages on the sunken ocean liner, said the map shows no unexpected features or clues. “Nothing unusual turns up,” he said in an interview. The wreck of the Titan submarine, he added, “is essentially where it was meant to be.”