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We need to send out a distress call: the Titanic is being plundered

Children can be morbid, can’t they? I speak for myself, of course, and my youthful fascination with the Titanic.

The Titanic leaves Queenstown (now Cobh) in Ireland in 1912.

The Titanic leaves Queenstown (now Cobh) in Ireland in 1912.Credit:Hutton Archive

It was among the real-life “mysteries” in a book bought by my mother. The Loch Ness Monster and Turin Shroud were gripping, sure, but it was the mystery of how this “unsinkable” liner had sunk that hooked me. I devoured accounts of that awful night on April 15, 1912, when 1500 people died, and lay in bed trying to imagine the terror of the final moments, before they went to their watery graves.

So it was with a heavy heart that I read about a plan to disturb that watery grave and extract the ship’s Marconi wireless system, on which its final distress signals were sent. The would-be salvager is RMS Titanic Inc, a US company backed by private equity. For three decades, it’s had a monopoly on raising thousands of items from the ship’s debris field – hats, handbags and jewellery.

Now, it insists that the secrets hidden inside the Titanic itself must be uncovered before they are lost in the crumbling wreck forever. Or was it that the secrets inside the ship must be uncovered from the crumbling wreck before RMS Titanic Inc is lost forever? I forget …

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