Tag Archives: Titanic salvage

Turkish Man Claims To Have Titanic Bell

A commonly found reproduction of Titanic crows nest bell sold to museum and exhibition visitors.
A commonly found reproduction of Titanic crows nest bell sold to museum and exhibition visitors.

A news report from Turkey says a 76 year old businessman claims to have a bell removed from Titanic. It is also claimed that he has windows from Hitler’s ship. One is more likely than the other. Hitler did have a wartime yacht, Aviso Grille,that was planned to transport Hitler and other dignitaries to England to accept their surrender. Of course there was no invasion of England (except for taking the Channel Islands)so it never got used for that purpose. The ship was used to receive many high ranking Nazi’s and honored visitors but did not go out to sea much other than in the early days of the war before being converted to Hitler’s use. After the war King Farouk of Egypt desired to buy the ship but enroute it stopped for repair. Limpet mines placed by his enemies dissuaded him from purchase. It was sold for scrap in 1951 and in a sense of historic irony, its metal went to the U.S. military for use. As for windows, it is possible they were sold and ended up in Turkey.

As for the Titanic bell, one assumes it is the crows nest bell being referenced. That was recovered in the first salvage expedition in 1987 and is part of the Titanic collection (now owned by Premier Exhibitions). If there were other bells brought up, they would be there as well. So the claim is false. Most likely he either has a reproduction or possibly a bell from Olympic or Britannic.

Sources:
1. Turkish Businessman Displays Titanic’s Bell At His Office(5 Sep 2014,CIHAN)
This news story appears to be from a televised story.
2. AVISO GRILLE (Strangevehicls.greyfalcon.us)
This site deals with the lesser known and odd vehicles of Nazi Germany. Revel Barker’s essay on this ship goes into detail about its military use before it was used as royal yacht for Hitler. While visitors were welcomed, it also did perform some wartime duties but most of the time was used as operational headquarters for Grand Admiral Erich Räder of the Kriegsmarine (official name of the Nazi German Navy from 1935-1945, now called Deutsche Marine).
3.German aviso Grille (Wikipedia)
This Wikipedia entry gives general information about the ship and its use as a command ship. It has no mention of its use by Hitler.


Raise The Titanic!

Duke of Lancaster beached near Mostyn, North Wales, UK (2010) Photo:Berit from Redhill/Surrey, UK(via Wikipedia)
Duke of Lancaster beached near Mostyn, North Wales, UK (2010)
Photo:Berit from Redhill/Surrey, UK(via Wikipedia)

Douglas Wooley, who claims to own Titanic, long has had plans to bring Titanic to Liverpool and partially restore it as tourist attraction. Now according News North Wales, he has found a ship to assist in this endeavor: TSS Duke of Lancaster. The Lancaster, built in 1956, has been beached near Mostyn, Wales since 1979. Originally built as passenger steamer for British Railways by Harland & Wolff, Belfast, it was converted to a car ferry in the 1960’s. In 1979 the ship was sold to Empirewise Ltd, who according to Wikipedia would use the ship as “static leisure centre and market.” It became known as the “Fun Ship” but later was used as a warehouse. Despite its weathered appearance apparently the inside is in good condition. Right now it sits awaiting either to be scrapped or possibly used as an open art gallery to display graffiti.

And now Wooley thinks this will be a fine ship to aid in bringing up Titanic. The ship’s co-owner John Rowley, doubts the plan and adds “I have no comment on the idea,” he said. “I would be amazed if Mr Woolley is able to keep a straight face through it all. I obviously do not share the same sense of humour as this budding salvage man, but each to their own.”

You have to admire Douglas. He has never given up on the idea of raising Titanic. He claims (and likely does own) the actual wreck. Even if he could put all the pieces together to bring up just a portion, it would run into all kinds of practical and legal obstacles. Clive Palmer’s project to build Titanic II has more probability of being done than raising a part of Titanic from its watery grave.

Sources:
1 My Dream To ‘Raise The Titanic Using Funship’(22 April 2014,News North Wales)
2.Is Douglas Woolley the Real Owner of the Titanic?(Dummies.com)
3. TSS Duke of Lancaster (1956) (Wikipedia)


Premiere Exhibitions:It’s Official-Deal To Sell Artifacts Terminated

For Sale by Owner Sign
Wikipedia

In its most recent financial report, Premiere Exhibitions announced the following:

While both parties have worked diligently to finalize a transaction to transfer the Titanic assets, the Company terminated the non-binding LOI with the Hampton Roads consortium effective today. Mr. Weiser stated, “We always believed that Hampton Roads was an ideal location for the permanent home of the collection and the proposed transaction met our criteria of price, court satisfaction and tax efficiency. However, this group has failed to secure sufficient financing so we believe the Company needs to focus on pursuing alternatives to effect a sale of these assets for the benefit of shareholders. From the Company’s perspective, we view the termination of the LOI not as the end but as a new beginning for the process; one that will get us closer towards finalizing this in a manner that fulfills our shareholders’ expectations and satisfies the requirements of the court.”

The actual names behind this consortium has never been reported but the Virginian-Pilot reports that at one time The Mariners’ Museum in Newport News had been negotiating but could not raise the money.

Premiere also announced its second-quarter revenue was done by 42% from the same period last year. Gross profit dropped by half to $4 million compared to $8.2 million a year ago. Hurricane Sandy hurt when it forced closure of Manhattan Titanic along with more money being spent elsewhere on the 100th anniversary of Titanic sinking.

Sources:
1. Deal For Titanic Artifacts Terminated(10 Oct 2013,Virginian-Pilot)
2.Premier Exhibitions Reports Second Quarter Fiscal 2014 Results(9 Oct 2013,Global Newswire-press release)

Titanic Artifacts Sold For $189 Million

Reuters reported yesterday that Premiere Exhibitions has found a buyer for the Titanic collection. The reported sale price is $189 million to a group that is not identified.

Artifacts recovered from the wreck of the Titanic are set to be sold for $189 million by Premier Exhibitions Inc, the company that holds the salvage rights to the doomed ocean liner. Premier’s shares jumped 18 percent on Tuesday, after it said in a regulatory filing it had signed a non-binding letter of intent to sell the artifacts for $189 million to an unnamed group of individuals. “(The buyers) are obviously a group of significant means because they have to have the resources to display and care for the artifacts and they have to be suitable for court approvals,” said Bill Vlahos, portfolio manager at hedge fund Odyssey Value Partners, which holds a stake in Premier. Premier officials said on a conference call Monday that the firm expects the deal to satisfy all of the court’s conditions.

It will interesting to learn who this group is. Three possibilities come to mind: 1)Government owned museums or an alliance of them; 2)Private group with very deep pockets that already own or control museums; 3)A company or consortium already in business and wants to keep the Titanic exhibitions alive.

Source: Reuters, Titanic Artifacts Collection To Be Sold For $189 Million, 16 Oct 2012

Titanic Musings-Ballard Wishes He Claimed Titanic

Right now the artifacts raised from Titanic are up for auction but only as a single lot. RMS Titanic, Inc. did not like this restriction since it makes hard to find a buyer or group of buyers willing to put up $189 million. However the proposed auction has been delayed and a press release yesterday indicates they are in negotiations with multiple parties. A press conference originally scheduled for 11 April has been put off until further notice. One wonders who these buyers might be considering the huge price tag. It could be a consortium of museums, government entities, or very wealthy business people who want to continue the exhibition.

Robert Ballard, who was part of the expedition that found Titanic in 1985, now regrets disclosing its location. Further he wishes now he could have made a claim on the wreck to prevent salvage. Except of course he could not have done so easily. Likely he would be excluded do his association with Wood’s Hole at the time. Wood’s Hole received government money and worked with the U.S. Navy. And government employees and those who work or affiliated with government are excluded from making salvage claims (which would give them an unfair advantage over private companies). Then there is the fact that Ballard was a reserve naval officer. Ballard knows this making his recent claim on National Public Radio curious. Then again perhaps it was just wistful thinking on his part.

Perhaps even more odd is the United Nations stance in the manner. Some years ago there was an attempt to secure a treaty to protect Titanic from further salvage. The proposed signatories would have been Britain, France, Canada, and the United States. The Titanic Treaty was never formally ratified and thus never came into effect (supposedly because France did not want to sign). But UNESCO apparently has included Titanic as protected under a 2001 convention on underwater cultural heritage. This comes into effect this year according to MSNBC thus any further salvage would allow parties to the convention to seize artifacts and prevent exploration that is “deemed unscientific or unethical.”

The problem is that no one is going to enforce this if the party involved either follows maritime law to salvage or is simply diving down to view the wreck. Simply diving down to view is allowed despite a foolish court action by RMS Titanic, Inc years ago to stop it (they lost, by the way). And UNESCO can do nothing if artifacts are raised and taken to a country that tells them to take a hike (like China or Russia). This sounds like your typical feel good thing that makes one feel good but actually achieves very little in the end.

That leaves Doug Wooley, who claims to own Titanic and wants to raise it, with a problem. Good luck on that Doug, 🙂

Titanic Artifacts Linked To First Officer Murdoch

The Associated Press reports today that certain artifacts recovered from Titanic have been identified as William Murdoch’s. The AP notes: The artifacts — including a shoe brush, straight razor and pipe — are the first to be specifically linked to Murdoch, who gained added notoriety after James Cameron’s polemical portrayal of him in the 1997 blockbuster movie “Titanic.”

You can read the full article and see a photo of the artifacts by clicking here.

Source: Associated Press, Titanic Artifacts Linked To Officer, 3 April 2012

Titanic Images To View

The BBC has images of the Titanic exhibition opening in Chatham Historic Dockyard. You can view them at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-13980375.

At a recent court hearing on the salvage matter in Virginia, images from the recent exploration were viewed. They are pretty neat to look at it. You can view them at http://www.news.com.au/technology/never-before-seen-3d-images-of-titanic-surface-in-courtroom-salvage-battle/story-e6frfro0-1226085392468.

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Titanic Fatigue?

A fascinating discussion took place on my list recently concerning whether or not many were still interested in Titanic. Postings have become fewer in recent years but not due to lack of interest but rather disinterest in all the babble about Titanic. Some point to Cameron’s Titanic as when it shifted from a serious study to something akin to entertainment. Then there were the numerous books, documentaries, exhibitions, and even tacky Titanic items put on sale. For many old timers, it simply became too much. They stuck with visiting with other Titanic enthusiasts, going to special events, and doing their own research.

This does not mean interest in Titanic has ended, just shifted into another mode. Perhaps this is the normal way of things. Most of us drawn to Titanic can remember the exact moment when it became important. Perhaps it was watching A Night To Remember, hearing someone talk about it, seeing a documentary, or reading a book. It led us to explore the subject further. In the process we learned lots of interesting things that kept us interested. The Titanic story comes close to the Greek meaning of tragedy. The word is much abused today but simply means that the sad events that occur would have been prevented had things been done differently by the central character. And Titanic, as Walter Lord notes, has so many What-If’s that haunt you.

The Titanic community was split by salvage. Ballard and many others did not believe salvage ought to be done arguing the wreck was a grave. Some survivors, like Eva Hart, agreed with it. The other side to the argument is that Titanic had a story to tell from all the things left on the ocean floor. Heated exchanges occurred and Internet flame wars resulted. Unfounded accusations were made and friendships ruined. Today the issue is less vitriolic but no less passionate. Today many can see the traveling Titanic exhibitions that show to people what life was like on the ship. One cannot help but be moved by seeing artifacts from the ship.

Recently San Francisco had its own anniversary of a catastrophe: the great earthquake of 1906 on April 18. Like Titanic it has it own legion of people who study it. Nearly all those who survived are gone now, the few that remain are over 100 years old. And like Titanic, it had its heroes and villains. The earthquake was far more destructive than was led to believe, and those most hardest hit were those were people who lived in cheap housing in an area (called South of Market) built on landfill. They were like Titanic steerage  and paid a terrible price on that day.

Fatigue? Well not really. Just a more mature development of a continuing exploration of Titanic. Sure we like some new books or interesting documentaries, but we have read a lot. Mostly we realize that Titanic has a story to tell. A sad and fascinating one. The latest Titanic thing, whatever that might be, is not going to wow us that much. The upcoming anniversary in 2012 is both a celebration of life and a remembrance of all those who perished on that very cold night in 1912. Anything else is just a distraction.