Plan to retrieve Titanic radio spurs debate on human remains

Titanic Artifacts
Posted at 4:40 PM, Oct 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-18 16:40:46-04

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — A company’s plan to retrieve the Titanic’s radio has sparked a debate over whether the famous shipwreck still holds human remains.

Lawyers for the U.S. government have raised the question during their ongoing court battle to block the planned expedition.

They cite archaeologists who say remains could still be there. The lawyers say RMS Titanic Inc. fails to consider that in its dive plan.

But the company says human remains likely would’ve been noticed after roughly 200 dives to the site. The company also says remains would've dissolved in the harsh ocean environment. The luxury ocean liner sank in 1912 after striking an iceberg in the North Atlantic.

The dispute stems from a larger debate over how the Titanic’s victims should be honored, and whether an expedition should be allowed to enter its hull.

In May, a federal judge in Norfolk, Virginia, approved the expedition.

AP reports, the U.S. government filed a legal challenge in June, claiming the undertaking would violate federal law and a pact with Britain recognizing the wreck as a memorial site. U.S. attorneys argue the agreement regulates entry into the wreck to ensure its hull, artifacts and “any human remains” are undisturbed.

The case is pending before the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, according to AP.