Admiralty & Maritime Law
US Judge Poised to Decide Fate of Titanic’s Treasures
Posted Mar 25, 2009 11:00 AM CST
By Molly McDonough
A federal maritime judge in Norfolk, Va., is set to issue a key ruling involving the historic salvage of artifacts from the century-old sinking of the Titanic.
At issue is ownership of the artifacts.
RMS Titanic Inc., the salvage company that has completed six dives to the Titanic since it was found 24 years ago, has asked for limited ownership of the artifacts to help defray costs of its salvage efforts, the Associated Press reports. The collection is valued by RMS at more than $110 million.
But U.S. District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith is also being asked by the government to rule in a way that keeps the collection intact for public view as a memorial to the 1,522 lives lost on April 15, 1912.
Judge Smith has already clued lawyers in to how she's leaning when she told them, "I am concerned that the Titanic is not only a national treasure, but in its own way an international treasure, and it needs protection and it needs to be monitored."
Eastern Pennsylvania's LehighValleyLive.com notes in a column that RMS Titanic already makes artifacts available to the public through a traveling exhibit.
To see a video report of the exhibit, check out this Express-Times (Video) clip on YouTube: