Is salvaging Titanic’s radio room equipment grave robbery or an allowable intrusion?
More than a hundred years ago, the British passenger ship wrecked the RMS Titanic. As we reported on February 19, there is a controversial plan to secure the radio equipment from the radio room. It is controversial because the Titanic is also the final resting place of many victims.
However, a federal judge in Virginia has now given permission to salvage the equipment that sent the sinking Titanic distress signals. However, the question is whether this permission will continue …
RMS Titanic Inc. is the only company allowed to store items around and on the Titanic. So they now asked Judge Smith for permission to take the Marconi radio equipment out of the ship. The company said it would try to avoid cutting the ship. There is a skylight that is already open and may be large enough to store the equipment.
According to the recovery company, the radio station could unlock some secrets about missed ship’s emergency calls. “It tells an important story,” said Concannon, a lawyer for the company. “It tells about the heroism of the operators who save the lives of 705 people. They worked until the water sloshed at their feet. ”
Opposition from NOAA
However, the legal battle is not yet over. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) states that salvage is still prohibited under US law and an international agreement between the US and the UK.
In April they already filed a court opposition to the recovery effort. According to NOAA, the potential benefits of a salvage would not outweigh the damage to the ship. Nor would it serve the public interest.
The salvage would be the first time that an object has been removed from the wreck. Until now, no one was allowed to enter the ship. Many believe that the interior of the ship should remain undisturbed as it is the final resting place of more than 1,500 casualties
The wreck lies about 4 kilometers below the sea surface on the ocean floor and remained undiscovered until 1985. R.M.S. Titanic Inc. wants to use a manned submarine to reach the wreck. From there, she plans to use a remote-controlled submarine to “free” the radio equipment.
Multiple radio tuner, made by Marconi’s Wireless Telegraph Company, England, circa 1908.
Used with spark receivers on both land and sea. The tuner was connected between the aerial and the detector in order to select the receiving frequency. This type of technology was superseded during the First World war (1914 - 1918).
This equipment is the same model as that used on the radio system on the Titanic ship at the time of the disaster in 1912.
Three controls on the top adjust the tuning of the aerial, detector and intermediate tuned circuits; the controls are variable capacitors. On the front, the left hand control adjusts the aerial tuning inductance and the right hand control perates three ganged switches, which set the tuning range of the three controls on top. The knife switch on the top selects between standby and tuned modes.
The item on the left hand front corner is the micrometer spark gap. This was provided to bypass the radio frequency energy coming from the transmitter when the key was pressed. There was no mechanical transmit/receive switching apart from the back contact of the key which would short the headphones when the key was pressed. This allowed ‘break-in’ operation where the operator would be able to hear another station trying to break in during the sending of a message.
Wooden box with composition front panel and top. The top holds three large brass and composition controls, four terminals, one knife switch and a brass housing. The front panel holds one rotary switch and a three ganged switch. On one end is a rotary control.
The wooden box is of course gone but all copper (wiring) and large brass and composition controls, four terminals, one knife switch and a brass housing as well as the front panel’s rotary switch and a three ganged switch and rotary control will still be in more or less good condition. How do you scoop up, with a remote vehicle, all this radio debris without destroying or damaging it is beyond me. Please leave it to rest there, it suits no purpose.
The motor generator which powered the transmitter is an item that could have survived in a rather good condition. It is heavily bolted down, how do you handle that with a remote vehicle?