The tragic historical event known to all, the Titanic, has once again proven its riches.
Archaeologists have pulled a treasure trove filled with artefacts from the Titanic, which were valued at £200 million.
The RMS Titanic sank in the early morning of April 15 in 1912, only four days after the ship’s maiden voyage from Southampton to New York went sour.
The White Star liner which carried an estimated 2,224 people on board when it struck an iceberg at around 11:40pm, and her sinking two hours and 40 minutes later, not only resulted in the deaths of more than 1,500 people, but also valuable cargo which is now deep in the ocean waters.
The ship was discovered in 1985, lying in international waters about 350 nautical miles off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada, two and a half miles below the ocean’s surface. After its discovery, several expeditions to the wreck have been carried out and some experts claim this is causing it to deteriorate more quickly.
As part of remembering the tragic event on its 100th anniversary, a spectacular collection of priceless jewels recovered from the bottom of the ocean went on public display.
Mark Lach, Creative Director of Titanic: The Artefact Exhibition, said in 2012: "We are fascinated 100 years later with this story, it’s almost the perfect story. It was the largest moving vessel ever made by the hands of man, practically unsinkable, that met its fate in 1912. For the first time, we are bringing all the jewels of Titanic together in one exhibition. 25 years ago, most of these were recovered in one single leather bag. In this bag, there were documents, banknotes and also these jewels belonging to the rich and famous of the Titanic. Some of the jewellery we know who they belonged to, some we don’t, but each piece has a story to tell.”
The collection of 5,500 artefacts discovered from the wreckage over the several years went on auction for the purpose to be sold to satisfy the bankruptcy debts of Premier Exhibitions, the company that collected them from the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, and mounted exhibitions around the world to show them off.
Appraisers valued the Titanic items at £200 million and the salvage rights to the ship were also up for grabs, but the winning bid was taken by a group of investors for £19.5 million.
Explorer David Gallo, who led the 2010 Titanic expedition, believes there is a lot more waiting to be discovered, as he said in 2017: "Personally, I’ve got this thing for the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, which is a book of Persian poems, and the binding is jewel-encrusted. It’s somewhere on that ship at the bottom of the sea."
However, the open waters and the collecting of the special Titanic artefact is not open to just anybody but RMS Titanic, a unit of Premier that has been the only company legally permitted to collect artefacts from the Titanic wreck since 1994.
In January 2020, the UK and US governments signed a treaty which was designed to protect the wreckage of the Titanic from damage by those wishing to remove artefacts.
Announcing the set out agreement by the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, the UK maritime minister, Nusrat Ghani, said the agreement would ensure the site was "treated with the sensitivity and respect owed to the final resting place of more than 1,500 lives".
The news came as the US company RMS Titanic Inc revealed their plans to use underwater robots to "surgically remove" a roof on the ship so it could retrieve items including a Marconi wireless system used to make the ship’s final distress signals.
According to the UK Department for Transport the treaty declares that the British and US governments now have the power to grant or deny licences to enter the ship and remove items.
But RMS Titanic Inc has reportedly argued the new treaty has "no teeth" in US law, and with that has filed a notice of intent to retrieve items from the ship at the US district court in eastern Virginia.
The company has originally scheduled another project to the Titanic for this summer, but due to the world wide Covid-19 epidemic the expedition has been moved to 2021, and hope to return with more cargo and findings next year.