A federal judge says RMS Titanic Inc. can go forward with its plan to cut into the Titanic shipwreck and try retrieving the Marconi wireless telegraph machine that sent out distress calls 108 years ago.
In an order issued Monday in Norfolk, Va., District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith said RMS Titanic, the court-designated salvage firm for the Titanic, made its case that the radio had enough historic value to justify sending a specially equipped robot into the wreck. The remotely operated submersible would be equipped with tools to cut through the deckhouse if necessary.
The Titanic is arguably the world’s most famous shipwreck — and a monument to the more than 1,500 people who died when the luxury liner struck an iceberg and sank in the North Atlantic, during its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York in 1912.
Researchers rediscovered the wreck in 1985, and since then, hundreds of artifacts have been recovered from the bottom of the ocean and put on exhibit. That’s what RMS Titanic is planning to do with the radio.
In her ruling, Smith wrote that retrieving the radio “will contribute to the legacy left by the indelible loss of the Titanic, those who survived, and those who gave their lives in the sinking”.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration had argued that the expedition was prohibited under federal law and an international agreement, but the judge said a salvage agreement dating back to 2000 took precedence.
RMS Titanic is planning to conduct its expedition in August.
During a video session presented last month by Everett, Wash.-based OceanGate, Bretton Hunchak, president of RMS Titanic, said the expedition would focus on the Marconi radio for a number of reasons.
Read more: yahoo