A private company wants to explore the Titanic shipwreck. U.S. officials fight the plans. Why do they disagree?
In 1912, the RMS Titanic set sail from Southampton, England. The massive passenger ship hit an iceberg and sank. The tragedy took around 1,516 lives. Today, when people hear the name “Titanic,” they think “disaster.” The shipwreck remains on the ocean floor.
RMS Titanic, Inc., holds the salvage rights to the wreckage. It owns anything recovered from the wreckage. The company is called “RMST” for short. It exhibits Titanic artifacts in museums. Museum-goers can see silverware used in the ship’s dining room. They can even view a piece of the ship’s hull.
RMST plans to return to the wreckage. Researchers want to take images of the ship. They want to recover more artifacts. But U.S. officials say no.
Titanic has already been in the news this year. In June, a five-person crew attempted to visit the shipwreck. The trip ended in tragedy.
But that’s not why officials say no to RMST. According to the U.S. government, the shipwreck is a hallowed gravesite.
“Hallowed” means “sacred” or “revered.” You might recognize that word from the Lord’s prayer. We pray, “Hallowed be your name.” (Matthew 6:9)
What makes a gravesite “hallowed”? People are made in the image of God. Human life is sacred. The Titanic disaster happened over 100 years ago. But we still respect those who died in the tragedy.
In fact, the law demands it. A U.S. law protects the ship’s remains. So does an international agreement with Great Britain. U.S. officials say RMST’s expedition would disturb the site. They claim it would break these laws.
RMST says this takes away its salvage rights. According to the company, its expedition won’t harm the wreckage. It will remove only objects not attached to the ship. Some artifacts might provide important historical information. The ship’s radio remains on board. If not recovered, it could be lost to decay.
Will the expedition go forward? For now, that’s up to a U.S. District Court.
So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. — Genesis 1:27