Next month, a consortium of organizations assembled by Ballard will launch a 10-year, $200 million federally funded effort to study the Pacific Ocean section of the country’s vast offshore Economic Exclusion Zone, which includes far-flung destinations such as Guam and American Samoa. “Fifty percent of the United States is beneath the sea, but we have better maps of Mars than we do of our country,” Ballard said this week about the expedition, which will not only map the bottom but study the makeup of the entire water column, from the shoreline to the abyss.
The Rhinebeck, New York Astor Gatehouse is for sale and it’s an impressive piece of history. The asking price is $2.5 million and the listing is through Sotheby’s International Realty. The Aster Gatehouse was built in 1878 as part of Ferncliff Farms a working dairy farm and horse breeding farm. William Backhouse Astor Jr. built the property to breed racehorses. The Astor family was once one of the richest families in New York and one that has a tragic connection to the sinking of the Titanic.
[Sorry for not posting sooner-been busy with work!]
Judge Okays Titanic Salvage
A federal judge has ruled in favor of R.M.S. Titanic (RMST)to go on an expedition to recover artifacts from the Titanic wreck. The company had petitioned to court to allow it to retrieve the Marconi telegraph and other artifacts. The company argued that due to deterioration these items had to be removed or they would be lost forever. The company, which has salvor-in-possession status, was seeking a modification of a July 2000 order which forbade it from cutting into the hull.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) opposed by filing an amicus curiae with the court. NOAA challenged the evidence justifying the expedition and arguing it was illegal under a 2017 Commerce Appropriations Act that prohibits this activity unless approved by the Secretary of Commerce. They also argued it was out of bounds due to an international agreement. Judge Rebecca Smith found the only issue before the court was whether RMST had followed the requirements required by previous court rulings. Since NOAA was not an actual party to the case, she did not rule on any of the merits raised in their brief to the court.
District Court Allows Salvage Company To Recover Telegraph from Titanic Wreck (Jurist, 24 May 2020)
This was not wholly unexpected. While many in the Titanic community were against the salvage, RMST claimed it was trying to preserve important artifacts from being lost as the wreck deteriorated. They were able to show to Judge Smith had to merely determine if this was a proper request, that how it would be done be consistent with previous authorized salvage, and that the items would be properly conserved. She was satisfied with what they presented to her.
NOAA’s involvement with the case was odd. Since they were not an actual party, they could only file a friend of the court brief. Their brief though was clearly meant as if they were an actual party to the case. One gets the distinct impression that folks at NOAA believe the federal government and not the court has jurisdiction here. They argued that the Secretary of Commerce is the one that makes decisions here and that an international treaty was also an issue. Judge Smith acknowledged the treaty but made it clear that NOAA has no seat at the table. They were essentially in the stands looking down waving paper at the judge. This must have miffed those behind it at NOAA. They can choose to appeal but on what grounds? If they go the route the Department of Commerce has authority, it sets up an interesting fight on maritime law. They may very well appeal this to stop the salvage. Providing of course they can convince a higher court to stop it. That may not be so easy as it sounds.
Titanic Chronology Updates
Two boys thought orphaned when Titanic sank-Michel Navratil, Jr., 3, and Edmond Navratil, 2, were reunited with their mother. Their father had placed them in a lifeboat and perished when Titanic sank. A worldwide appeal to find relatives of the two boys led to finding the mother.
The first silent disaster movie, Saved From The Titanic, was released. Starring Dorothy Gibson, who had been a passenger aboard Titanic, received positive reviews from critics. Sadly due to a fire in 1914 at the film studio, all prints of the movie were lost. All that we have are production stills and secondary evidence from other accounts of its existence.
RMS Oceanic found the remains three people in a lifeboat from Titanic. The body of passenger Thomson Beattie and two unidentified firemen were recovered. While they apparently survived the sinking, they died from hypothermia or thirst in the collapsible lifeboat. The Canadian ship Montmagny recovered three victims and brought them to Louisberg, Nova Scotia where they were transported to Halifax.
The cable ship Minia returned to Halifax, Nova Scotia with 17 bodies from Titanic . Only 1 had died from drowning and the rest from exposure.
The will of John Jacob Astor IV, who died in the Titanic disaster, was probated. His $150,000,000 estate (worth more than $3.3 billion in 2012) was left to his 22-year-old son, Vincent Astor.[18
Mike Bird, who writes for Business Insider,was intrigued by a Titanic conspiracy he had learned about on the Internet. Various Titanic conspiracy theories have been around for a long time. This one involves Benjamin Guggeheim, Isidor Straus, and John Jacob Astor. All three men, so the theory goes, opposed the creation of the U.S. Federal Reserve. So their deaths on Titanic were not coincidental but purposeful and by the Rothschilds. Bird tracked down this theory along with others(The Jesuit and Illuminati ones). Needless to say, he was not impressed (nor are most people when they read up on the facts).
He mentions at the close of his article something I had not heard about:
There’s also a lot of chatter about the idea that the Titanic should
not have sunk just because it hit an iceberg — a sort of
jet-fuel-doesn’t-melt-steel-beams for the early-20th century.
Frankly I am not surprised at all if some out there are taking this
line. Some have no concept, either through ignorance of what icebergs are or simply not understanding the forces involved, that a giant block of ice can cause such crippling damage to the unsinkable Titanic. So if it could not be the culprit, then of course it opens up a world of things to consider. I will leave it at that and still pursue my personal theory that Titanic was sunk by Marvin the Martian playing with his ray gun. 🙂
Here are some news stories that close out November.
1. Woman Shares Family’s Titanic Tale With Tenth Street Students(30 Nov 2013,Times Leader) Students in fourth grade at the Tenth Street Elementary School were treated to a guest speaker recently. The students learned about the events of the sinking of the Titanic from Mae Thomas.Thomas, a child of a Titanic survivor, shared her mother and infant brother’s survival story aboard the Titanic, along with many other stories.
2. Belfast’s Odyssey Gets Go-Ahead For Extension That Could Create 1,000 Jobs(29 Nov 2013,Belfast Telegraph) Odyssey Trust’s plans to build next to the existing Odyssey Arena and Pavilion come just weeks after Belfast Harbour won planning permission for an office development at City Quays. With an application lodged by Titanic Quarter Ltd for yet another development, the entire Belfast Harbour area is set for a major growth spurt. The scheme has space for nearly 800 apartments, two hotels, shops, cafes, bars and restaurants and “community and cultural use” space, according to planners Turley Associates, which acts for Odyssey Trust.
3. Tracing a Precious Relic of the Titanic(28 Nov 2013,New York Times) A hundred years later, the solid gold Waltham pocket watch, purchased in 1907 and engraved with the initials J.J.A., has become an object of controversy. John Miottel, a collector in California, says he bought it 15 years ago. But in March an heir of the Astor family announced that he owned a watch carried by John Jacob Astor IV at the time of his death, according to reports published in The New York Post, The Daily Mail of London and elsewhere. Mr. Miottel, a real estate investor in Northern California who collects luxury ocean-liner memorabilia, said in a phone interview that he bought the Astor watch “in 1997 in a small auction house in Asheville, North Carolina, around the 85th anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking when all the Titanic fans were celebrating aboard the Queen Mary in California.” “The ironic thing is that almost nobody, including the Astor Foundation, knew about this watch at the time,” added Mr. Miottel, who owns two other Titanic-related watches. “There would have been a lot more bidders if they had.”
This is like a Perry Mason novel. An heir to John Jacob Astor, Anthony ‘Tony’ Marshall,was convicted in 2009 of conning his mother, Brooke Astor, out of $60 million. He was sentenced to jail but living a quiet life while appealing the conviction. He showed up at the recent bash given by Clive Palmer. While there, he showed off a watch that was recovered from John Jacob Astor’s body and saying he was selling it for $1 million. Marshall claims the watch was given to his mother by her third husband, Vincent Astor. However John Miottel, a collector, claims that he owns the real Astor watch.
Here is the story everyone agrees one. Astor’s body was found with the gold watch, cuff links, and a ring. Vincent Astor claimed the body in Nova Scotia and wore the watch. He left the watch to his godson, William Dobbyn V. After that the story changes. Elizabeth Dobbyn auctioned the watch in 1997 where Miottel bought it. In Marshall’s story, the watch was never auctioned off and given to his mother by Vincent Astor. So we are left with two Astor watches but only one of them can be the real deal. Miottel claims he documentation to prove its authenticity. The New York Post saw the documentation showing it had been auctioned by Brunk Auctions in Ashland, N.C.
So on one hand you have a real estate magnate who collects luxury ocean-liner memorabilia with documentation to prove his claim. And on the other you have someone convicted of defrauding his mother of $60 million, first-degree grand larceny, and scheming to defraud who says the watch came from Vincent Astor to his mother. The Gothamist has a good retort to make Marshall’s alleged Astor watch more valuable: “Just have it sink with the obviously doomed Titanic II and then fish it back up again.”