A new piece of the Titanic's hull has been found deep in the North Atlantic, according to the company granted exclusive rights to salvage the ship.
by Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News -- November 9, 2004
RMS Titanic Inc says the 30-metre hull section was part of a massive debris field, found more than 3 kilometres underwater.
The find comes as a U.S. researcher presents his new theory about why the ship that carried 2227 passengers and crew struck an iceberg four days into its maiden voyage from Southampton, England, to New York.
Ohio State University engineer Professor Robert Essenhigh has just told the Geological Society of America meeting in Denver that he believes a smouldering fire in a pile of stored coal, and attempts to control it, led to the ship increasing speed as it navigated dangerous, iceberg-laden waters.
Together, the two findings may reveal more information about the ship's final hours, why it collided with the iceberg, and how the vessel eventually broke apart.
The newly discovered debris field includes objects associated with life onboard the ship, as well as several decks, levels and portholes of the hull. It paints a picture of decadence that stands in sharp contrast to the silt-covered wreckage of the hull.
"The found section of the hull is a huge, 100 ft., pie-shaped section of the hull that broke off from the middle of the Titanic. It weighs over [90 tonnes]," said Arnie Geller, president of RMS Titanic Inc.
The discovery confirms speculation that the ship did not merely break in half, but split apart in sections as it sank.
Geller and his team hope to raise the hull and they have targeted it for future recovery projects.
While the decked section once would have housed first, second and third class passengers, Geller said he and his crew had never found human remains.
"Most of the passengers and crew had lifejackets and were off the ship at the time it sank," he said. "Engineers who kept the lights on, however, might have gone down with the ship."
Geller added that water pressure at the wreckage site was more than 41,300 kilopascals, so it was unlikely that any human remains would be left.
Expedition 2004, which led to the hull's discovery and concluded early last month, allowed the salvagers for the first time to rely exclusively on a deep ocean remotely operated vehicle with robotic arms.
Geller said the vehicle needed at least two workers to operate it: one to control the overall robot and another to control its arms.
The vehicle enabled the team to find delicate objects within the debris field, such as an intact champagne bottle and a Cantrell & Cochrane soft drink bottle from Ireland.
These objects and many others came out of the ship's first class ÃƒÂ¡ la carte restaurant, which was modelled on a restaurant at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Paris.
"We found an absolutely spectacular wall sconce, gilded in gold, that includes three French light fixtures," said Geller. "It provides an elegant representation of what diners would have seen as they descended the grand staircase."
An electric milk scalder that was very high tech for its time and would have been used at the restaurant's buffet also was found during this latest expedition. A crystal decanter, pieces of Turkish bath tiles, parts of beds and possible leather luggage fragments were also found.
All these objects, and the rest of the vessel, sank less than three hours after the White Star Line's steamship hit an iceberg with its starboard bow.
Posted: 2004/12/12 13:34 Updated: 2004/12/12 13:34
The smoldering coal fire can be found in this article