Tag Archives: Robert Ballard

Premier Exhibitions Update:U.K.’s National Maritime Museum Bids For Titanic Artifacts

Image: Public Domain (NOAA)

The National Geographic reports that last Friday (29 June 2018) the U.K.’s National Museum and National Museums of Northern Ireland have filed papers with the bankruptcy court pledging to raise $19.2 million to buy Premier Exhibitions and the Titanic Exhibition. Both museums would co-own the artifacts and display them in Belfast. The non-Titanic part of Premier would be acquired by another exhibition firm called Running Subway. It is also reported that the CEO of Running Subway is on the Creditors Committee and that Premier’s creditors support the bid. A rival bid by existing shareholders is offering $17.5 million at the moment. Another proposal from the equity holders calls for splitting up the artifacts and selling them at auction.

The National Maritime Museum is pledging to conserve the artifacts and has the facilities to do it. They are worried that history would end up in private hands and possibly disappear. Famed explorer and one of the two men that can claim to have found RMS Titanic (the other was Jean-Louis Michel of Ifremer also aboard Knorr at the time), Bob Ballard, is a supporter. Certainly this adds a new complexity to the upcoming hearing on July 25 where the proposals will be considered by the court. If they can raise the money, they might be able to pull it off. Then again there are a lot of competing interests and lots of jockeying going on behind the scenes. Also the lawsuit against former officers could have an impact as well though hard to say at this point.

Another fascinating wrinkle in this story. Stay tuned, this is going to be interesting.

Source: Titanic Artifacts Caught in International Tug-of-War (National Geographic, 2 Jul 2018)


Titanic News: Premier Exhibitions Bankruptcy Update, More Details On How Titanic Was Found

Premier Exhibitions Update-On May 25, 2018 the Bankruptcy Court granted the Equity Committee legal standing to pursue claims against current and former officers and directors of Premier Exhibitions. In short it means they have the ability to demand they pay damages to help reduce the outstanding debts of the company. Since they have retained counsel, it means they expect it will result in litigation to determine whether they are liable and if so, how much they will have to pay.
View original document here.
View materials on the case here.

Titanic Wreck Bow
Image: Public Domain (NOAA-http://www.gc.noaa.gov/images/gcil/ATT00561.jpg)

New Details on Secret Navy Mission Where Titanic Was Found-Some years ago it was revealed Titanic was discovered as part of a secret Navy mission that Ballard was on. He was sent on a mission to try to find out how two U.S. nuclear submarines had sunk. Using new submersible technology Ballard found those wrecks and the approximate location of Titanic. The National Geographic Museum in Washington D.C. reveals more of the details of that secret mission. “Titanic: The Untold Story” delves into the many details that have not been publicly revealed until now.

In 1985, Ballard’s mission was to dive to depths of 9,800 feet using a towed camera system called Argo to find and document the imploded remains of the Scorpion. The objective of the mission was to locate the submarine’s nuclear reactor and nuclear weapons and to gain evidence to help determine what led to her loss. After concluding his successful investigations of the Scorpion, Ballard used the final 12 days of his expedition to discover the RMS Titanic at a depth of 12,540 feet. The following year, while the public was enthralled and distracted by the discovery of the Titanic, Ballard returned on a second classified mission to the Thresher and Scorpion.

Visitors will view artifacts, materials and photographs from the U.S. Navy Archives, and see the submersible Alvin that dived to Titanic. They will also see a variety of Titanic related artifacts from the National Archives and movie memorabilia from 20th Century Fox.

Information about museum hours of operation and tickets can be found at https://www.nationalgeographic.org/dc/.


Sunday Titanic News

1.Underwater Explorer Has A Deep Respect For Leadership(Lethbridge Herald, 4 Mar 18)
Ballard is one of the featured guests at this year’s Greatness in Leadership conference taking place in March.He is best known for finding the RMS Titanic in 1985, while on a secret navy mission to investigate two sunken nuclear submarines. “I was a naval officer doing something else, and needed a cover,” he said from his headquarters in Connecticut “I must say, the Pentagon was pissed when I made the discovery. I apologized and said I’d never do it again.” In May, Ballard will hit the open sea to work with Ocean Networks Canada. He and his crew are assisting with efforts to provide improvements to a tsunami early warning system by investigating the Juan de Fuca plate, a tectonic plate subducting under the West Coast.

2.WSU Engineering Students Helping Remap The Titanic (King5.com,1 Mar 2018)
Since Titanic was discovered in 1985, there have been dozens of voyages to the wreckage from government agencies and scientists. But the last time a tourist laid eyes on it was 2005, and the last scientific expedition was in 2010. Technology has also changed a lot in eight years. This time, their five-person sub named Titan will be armed with 4K cameras and a special laser to bring back the best images ever seen. “We can tell within millimeters what the hull is like and create a 3D image of it which we will use in our virtual reality presentation of the wreck,” said Rush.

Public Domain( John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Australia)

3.US Museum Labelling Titanic A Failure Blasted By Belfast Councillor(Belfast Telegraph, 27 Feb 18)
The Museum of Failure in Los Angeles is dedicated to displaying 100 items which are rated in terms of innovation and design before being subjected to the museum’s ‘Fail-O-Meter’. The Harland & Wolff-built luxury liner was deemed unsinkable by its designers but tragically sank on its maiden voyage in April 1912 with the loss of more than 1,500 lives. However, Councillor Sonia Copeland, who represents the Titanic District Electoral Area in east Belfast, said the inclusion of the ill-fated cruise liner in the exhibition is completely inappropriate. “I think it’s disgusting. The Titanic hit an iceberg. That wasn’t a failure of the shipbuilders – it was a failure of nature, so to speak,” she said.

4.Medals Of War Hero Who May Have Unwittingly Helped Sink Titanic Go Up For Auction(Belfast Telegraph, 27 Feb 2018)
A special set of medals owned by a Titanic crew member whose memory loss may have sparked the liner’s tragic demise is set to go under the hammer. Crew member David Blair was a selfless man who once plunged into the sea to save a life and received an OBE – but he may have unwittingly caused the catastrophic sinking of the famous ship in 1912. That’s because Second Officer Blair was taken off the Titanic at the last minute – and accidentally held on to the key to a locker containing the crow’s nest binoculars. Titanic survivor Fred Fleet told the official inquiry into the tragedy that if they had the binoculars they would have seen the iceberg that took the ship to its watery grave sooner.


Recent Titanic News: Ballard Talks and Scientist Reveals Major Movie Plot Hole

Image: Public Domain (NOAA)

1. Robert Ballard, part of the team that discovered Titanic, recently gave a lecture at Jacksonville University. Addressing 150 marine biology students he noted that he was inspired by the fictional Captain Nemo. While Titanic made him famous, he noted:

“I have done 150 expeditions and when I look back on what were the most important ones, it was not finding the Titanic,” Ballard said. “It was finding amazing systems in our ocean that we did not know were there; going to look for ‘A’ and finding something more important.”

That is certainly someone dedicated to building scientific knowledge.
Source:Finding Titanic made Ballard famous but reach goes deeper (Florida Times-Union,10 Oct 2017)

The Sad Parting
From Story of the Wreck of the Titanic;Marshall Everett);1912
Artist Unknown
Public Domain

2. When noted scientists get involved in silly controversies over fictional movies, I usually shake my head. On the other hand Neil DeGrasse Tyson pointed out a major plot hole over Jack Dawson’s demise.

“Whether or not he could’ve been successful, I would’ve tried more than once. You try once. ‘Oh, this is not gonna work. I will just freeze to death in the water.’ No, excuse me. No!

Okay Dr. Tyson.
Source:Scientist points out huge Titanic film plot hole that fans missed completely (Mirror.co.uk,10 Oct 2017)


Premier Exhibitions Bankruptcy Update

This and other Titanic artifacts could be yours! Appraised value is $240 million. All genuine offers considered. Contact Brent Williams at Lincoln International, bwilliams@lincolninternational.com , telephone (212) 257-7750 or Premier’s financial advisors, Marshall Glade, GlassRatner Advisory & Capital Group LLC, mglade@glassratner.com , telephone (404) 835-8844.

The story thus far: Premier Exhibitions, which owns RMS Titanic Inc, has filed for bankruptcy. A decision has been reached to sell the Titanic collection (the artifacts and intellectual property). One problem is the Titanic salvage award limits how those artifacts can be sold: as one collection. Past attempts to sell have failed because the price is too high. And now our story resumes….

Could a famous Hollywood director put together the money needed to buy the collection? The U.K. Daily Mail reports that James Cameron has begun a “secret” rescue mission to bring the Titanic artifacts to the U.K. He has apparently teamed up with Robert Ballard, the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich and the Royal Geographical Society to accomplish this. The figure being reported is £165 million.

Details of this “secret” mission were revealed at a court hearing last week by Ballard. Of course nothing is final and it is the very early stages. I doubt they will be the only party that will be interested. The Chinese would like to add it to their theme park and have money to spend as well. And there are investors in Dubai who also would not mind having the Titanic collection there as well that will draw in tourists. ave Vermillion, spokesman for RMS Titanic Inc, confirmed they have interest from all over the world.

Hopefully this time they will actually sell it to someone who will properly conserve it. The bidding war, if that is what it becomes, ought to be fascinating.

Source: Save the treasures of the Titanic! Director James Cameron launches top-secret £165m bid to rescue artefacts after shipwreck’s ‘owners’ are declared bankrupt (Daily Mail,1 Jul 2017)


Vessel That Helped Find Titanic Says Goodbye And Heads To Mexico

R/V Knorr at the WHOI dock in Woods Hole, MA 2012 Public Domain (Wikipedia)
R/V Knorr at the WHOI dock in Woods Hole, MA 2012
Public Domain (Wikipedia)

RV Knorr, made famous by being the Woods Hole vessel that had the researchers that found Titanic aboard, is heading to Mexico. The ship was a mainstay of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution since it was delivered to them in 1970. And logged close to a million miles in its long history with Woods Hole. The ship was officially decommissioned in 2014 and its replacement, the RV Neil Armstrong, will take its place. The ship will now serve in the Mexican Navy though it is unclear what her duties will be.

Source: Ship Used to Find Titanic Headed to Mexican Navy (ABC News from AP,13 Mar 2016)

Titanic News: Anniversary of finding, Titanic II tickets, and Titanic Whistles

1. Titanic II Ticket Demand Expected To Increase
Cruise Ship News speculates that now the project is back on, that demand for tickets will begin again. “One thing we do know though, and that is the fact there will now be renewed demand for Titanic 2 ticket prices. Details of Titanic II tickets had already been shared, but not their prices. We do know that there will be first, second and third class like the original liner, and some people have been offering up to £640,000($987,216USD) so they can be the first to experience life aboard the Titanic 2.” They might want to wait until construction actually begins before offering substantial sums of money. There is still a lot of doubt this will get built.
Source: Titanic 2 Ticket Demand Renewed Following Latest Launch News(14 Sep 2015,Cruise Ship News)

2. Titanic Whistles Heard For The First Time Since 1912 At Luxor Titanic Exhibition
Back in 1912 recording media was very primitive so we have no idea what Titanic’s whistles sounded like. Now we have a pretty good idea. A set of Titanic’s whistles were recovered in 1993,cleaned and then X-rayed. The whistles are believed to been on the first funnel and could be used one last time. In 1999 using high-pressured air, the whistle tones were recorded. The whistle sound, two separate blasts of about eight seconds each, are heard by visitors to the Titanic exhibition at Luxor hotel in Las Vegas. A replica set of the whistles is on display as well (the original is at the Huntington Park, California exhibition).
Source:Whistles Give Voice To Tragedy At Luxor Titanic Exhibition(13 Sep 2015,Las Vegas Review Journal)

3. 30 Years!
On September 1, 1985, a joint expedition of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and French National Institute of Oceanography (IFREMER) located Titanic just a little after 1am. Lying over 12,400 feet down, it was a major success for Robert Ballard (WHOI) and Jean Louis Michel of IFREMER to finally locate the wreck. Using a new approach of using a deep towed sonar and video camera system, they were looking for debris rather than just one large object. They found the debris field and followed it to the wreck. It was a major achievement for both and brought worldwide attention. It answered some questions and raised more. Titanic did not sink in one piece but in two. Further explorations would learn there was no large gash but perhaps punctures caused by the iceberg grazing against it. The subsequent salvage would touch off a firestorm between Titanic historians and enthusiasts, a debate that still lingers to this day.
Source: 1985 Discovery of RMS Titanic(Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Farewell, 2014

640px-Pendleton_Sinking_Ship2014 was going to a be a big year for Titanic II. Clive Palmer wanted to bring back the glamor that was Titanic with a new ship based on the original design. He hired experts to do planning and testing. He set up a company called Blue Star Line that would be the new ship’s owner. And he made contact with a shipyard in China in the hopes it would be built there. And things seemed to hum along but things started going amiss along the way. The shipyard said no formal contract had been signed and even doubted they could do the job. Palmer started looking for investors in China to help shoulder the enormous construction cost. People in the cruise industry weighed in and wondered if such a ship could make money today. China began construction on its own Titanic, one that will be part of a theme park and designed to shake and rattle in the way the ship did during that fateful night when it sank. Clive Palmer got into a row with the Chinese over some business dealings. Unpleasant words were spoken and legal action began over royalties he claimed a Chinese company owed him. Despite assurances that ship construction would start late in 2014, nothing happened. And so it appears, unless things change, that Titanic II is kaput. If it gets resurrected, it likely will not be built in China. Perhaps an oil rich state in the Middle East?

Robert Ballard has moved on from Mystic Aquarium. His long term association with them has come to an end. Ballard decided to focus his energies on other projects. Mystic Aquarium has decided to open up a space by closing its Titanic exhibit which featured Ballard.

The Titanic Historical Society lost Ed Kamuda this year. A founder of that group and one of those who kept alive memory of the disaster. He lived to see Titanic get more widely known, its wreck found, and having annual get togethers with survivors and enthused amateurs. He and his wife Karen even got parts in Cameron’s Titanic as part of the many people walking on deck. His stance against salvage made him unpopular with some but no one ever said he did not like Titanic. He will be missed. RIP.

Titanic Belfast continues to grow strong. Visitors keep coming and recently exceeded 2 million. Quite a feat. Belfast, which had kind of downplayed Titanic, now embraces it. A whole commercial area called Titanic Quarter is getting shops, people, and businesses to live, work, and shop there. Aside from one snide comment from a television personality, most in Belfast seem happy with the tourism and new business.

Not one but two Titanic hotels are now in Liverpool. One is at the old White Star offices (Albion House) and the other at Stanley Dock.

The Silver Cup given to Captain Rostron of Carpathia was auctioned off  by his descendents.

A rare British Pathe film with Titanic footage and interviews was found quite by accident. A lucky one since it now has become a valuable part of Titanic history.

Titanic still gets used as a cliché for politicians, pundits, and news analysts. But it was Arianna Huffington who gets the top prize for using Emperor Nero, the burning of Rome, and Titanic all in one mashed up sentence. When you mix idioms and cliches together, no good ever comes of it.

Non-Titanic

Over at Undercover Boss, the owner of Bikinis Bar and Grill (a place I never heard of till I saw the episode), has gotten into some hot water over what happened during the reveal part of the show (where he reveals he is the boss). Now this guy, Doug Culler, is unabashed about what his restaurant chain is all about: breasts (and not chicken). At his place, women wear bikini tops, denim shorts, and cowboy boots. One gal decided not to wear her top for the camera, a major no-no for him. More serious is that she kept serving alcohol to a guy who was intoxicated. And where was the manager? Oh he eventually showed up to cut him off and safely home (strict liability these days means businesses can be held responsible if someone who gets intoxicated on your premises and causes damage or injury). The gal also said she was looking for other jobs. So at the reveal Doug canned her–in front of millions of viewers. While firing her may have been right, it ought not to have been done that way. And it might come back to haunt him. Trust me some attorney out there is going to make hay about it and perhaps a lawsuit. To make it more tacky, he offered another gal a boob job if she did her job well for the next couple of months. Sleazy? You bet it was. And it fired up lots of angry tweets as well. Congratulations Guller! You wanted attention and you got it. Considering that business has been mixed of late, this might turn off a lot more potential customers.

MasterChef Junior season 2 has ended with Logan, the bow-tied wonder winning it all. Congrats Logan! Now we are getting ready for season 3 on January 6. Not much of a break between seasons so the producers are wanting to strike hard and fast. But maybe they know something we do not: that the clock is ticking on this show so they want to maximize as much ratings and earnings potential as they can. They are up against both NCIS on CBS and it only loses ratings when in reruns. And it will be starting back up on the same night and time as Masterchef Junior. So which do you watch live or record? Kids making fancy dishes or an action series? If the previous numbers are an indication, NCIS will get more live eyeballs.

I like the movie The Santa Clause. I watched The Santa Clause 2 and about the only good thing about it are the home scenes and Elizabeth Mitchell. It was a really stunningly dumb idea to come up with a robot Santa. The elves are not little kids (most are older than Santa) and could easily understand why Santa had to be away for a while. So you have the ridiculous idea of a real bad Santa-one that reminds you of those leaders of an impoverished nation who wear spectacular military outfits to show who the boss is. In first movie Bernard could just materialize when he needed to visit Allen’s character back home. Which means he ought to have been able to quickly to do the same in this movie. Nope. Instead Curtis has to fly down (literally) using the jet pack from The Rocketeer to tell Santa what the bad Santa was up to. It gets worse so I will stop here. Stick with the original and skip part 2 and do not get me started on part 3. Yikes, now that is a really bad mess there and no amount of talent will save it.

Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial

Mystic Aquarium To End Titanic Exhibit

Image: Public Domain (NOAA)
Image: Public Domain (NOAA)

Back in October it was announced that Robert Ballard was ending his long term relationship with Mystic Aquarium. Ballard said the reason was to focus on other projects. Mystic Aquarium announced its discontinuance of the Titanic Exhibit on 5 Jan 2015. The exhibit opened in 2012 informs visitors about Titanic’s discovery and of Robert Ballard’s part in it. A new explorers exhibit, yet unnamed, will replace it in 2015.

Source:
Titanic Exhibit At Mystic Aquarium To Close(15 Dec 2014,CBS.local.com)




Saturday News & Musings

1. Robert Ballard has begun his 2014 Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico Exploration. He and his crew will research marine ecosystems and tectonic activity over the next four months. People can view the progress and other details at www.nautiluslive.org.
Source: US Titanic Discoverer Embarks On New Mission(13 June 2014,New Vision)

2. The Titanic Honour and Glory exhibition has opened at Clydebank Museum and Art Gallery in Scotland. According to Evening Times:
Visitors to the free exhibition will get to see an assortment of items from the liner’s passengers and crew, including some of the beautiful china dinner plates used to serve meals aboard the stricken ship. Also on show will be the nameplate from one of Titanic’s lifeboats which collectively saved 706 of the 2,223 passengers.There are also rare examples of tributes made in the aftermath of the sinking, including Titanic relief fund cheques which were given to help support the families of those who were lost.

Admission is free. For information about the museum, click here.
Source:Titanic Exhibition Opens(13 June 2014, Evening Times)

3. The tragedy of the sunken South Korean ferry is an opportunity to revisit better ways to save lives at sea. Clive Schofield notes that with more cruise ships going into areas not traveled before for adventure cruising(and given the fact many who are on cruise ships are older people), the need for better approach is at hand. He suggests liferafts over lifeboats since the former deploys much faster (in minutes when time is crucial). Also passengers need to be marshaled on deck quickly rather than remain below and possibly die (and divers possibly dying getting to them).
Source:Another Titanic Change Is Needed To Save More Lives At Sea(10 June 2014,The Conversation)

*Summer is nearly here and most schools are finished for the year. When I was a kid, my mother had to devise ways to keep us from hanging around the house. That meant day camps, athletics, and swimming aside from whatever chores we had to do. I have no doubt she would have confiscated smart phones, computer games, and locked out the computer had we had them back them. Oh and the television would be embargoed as well.

*Being kind of a fan of railroads, I like occasionally to play computer simulation games. I tried a demo for one called Rails (Belight Software). It is based on a game called Short Rails from a long time ago. Essentially you run a short line railroad and have to handle the assorted issues of routing trains etc. But the new version is not so good. Track layout is restricted, stations appear randomly, and the assorted challenges make it more frustrating than enjoyable. I ended up trashing the program wishing I had not spent the money. A lesson learned is to pay attention to demos more carefully otherwise you end with something you could have avoided.

*Hell’s Kitchen is, I think, a joke on the entire food competition shows. You have serious ones out there but this one strikes me as more of a trip for Gordon Ramsay then anything else. I mean who wants to spend weeks under his exacting drill sergeant routine to get a job that, if accurate, never quite materializes? You get the title of winning Hell’s Kitchen that season but the promised job does not quite come out that way. Some lesser positions than promised, take cash payouts because they cannot assume the job, or once their contract is up leave. I am certain that in the contract they sign it says you may get the position but it is up to the needs and decision of Gordon Ramsay. And Ramsay admits some of the participants on the show are there to be filler, just there to cause tension and issues to see if the real chefs can be found. And to be honest, I would rather eat the food of most Masterchef contestants and winners than some of those who claim to be cooks on Hells Kitchen.

A U.S. Army Air Forces North American B-25B Mitchell bomber takes off from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-8) during the "Doolittle Raid". Image:Public Domain(National Archives and Records Administration,ARC Identifier 520603)
A U.S. Army Air Forces North American B-25B Mitchell bomber takes off from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-8) during the “Doolittle Raid”.
Image:Public Domain(National Archives and Records Administration,ARC Identifier 520603)

*In April 1942 there was a daring raid on Japan called the Doolittle Raid. B-25’s took off from the aircraft carrier Hornet and bombed industrial sites in Japan. Because they had to take off earlier than expected due to a Japanese craft sighted nearby, they barely had enough fuel to land in China. Some were captured by the Japanese and killed, and some others were imprisoned until freed by American soldiers. A few ended up in Russia (neutral territory since they were not at war with Japan at the time) and interned. They were relocated near to the Iranian border where they were helped to escape over the border into British hands and ultimately back to the U.S. Others who crashed in China were helped by locals and partisans fighting against the Japanese and ultimately would be returned home. Lt. Colonel Doolittle, who had thought the raid was a failure and expected to be court martialed upon return, learned it had boosted morale and widely acclaimed back home. One of its participants, a young Army Air Corps pilot named Ted Lawson, returned home with an amputated leg. He would stay with the Army Air Corps and be promoted to Captain and later Major before retiring in 1945. Lawson wrote a book called Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo which the famous 1944 movie is based on. None of the men involved thought they were heroes but striking a blow to the Japanese for what they did to Pearl Harbor in December, 1941. Wars are not often determined by the largest battles but sometimes the best shots that down the road lead to a more secure victory than thought possible.

MacHighway - Web Hosting for Mac Users, by Mac Users, Since 1997