Company indefinitely delays plan to take over radio company from Titanic Ships company Radio
The company that owns the rights to recover the wreckage of the Titanic has indefinitely delayed plans to recover and display the ship’s radio equipment due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a court filing filed by the company on Friday.
RMS Titanic Inc. cited the “increasing difficulties associated with international travel and logistics, and the health risks associated with the expedition team.”
The Atlanta-based company also said it went almost a year without its main source of income after virus restrictions shut down exhibits of its vast collection of Titanic artifacts. Only some of the exhibits, scattered across the country, have reopened. But they see limited attendance.
The company maintained, however, that it was financially secure. The company said the radio shipment remains a top priority and “will take place as soon as reasonably possible.”
The company argued that the radio display would help preserve the ship’s legacy while honoring the passengers and crew. Known in 1912 as the Marconi Wireless Telegraph, the radio sent distress calls to nearby ships, saving 700 people in lifeboats.
RMS Titanic Inc. has filed its update with a U.S. District Court in Norfolk, Virginia, which presides over Titanic rescue cases. The company said it would continue to work on a plan to finance the expedition, which the admiralty court demanded.
But even without the pandemic, shipping is far from guaranteed. The company has been in an ongoing legal battle with the US government over whether the business is legal.
Lawyers for the US government have argued that the mission is prohibited under federal law and an international agreement with Britain. Lawyers say the company must seek government permission to remove the radio because the sunk ship is a recognized memorial to the roughly 1,500 people who died.
The luxury liner was traveling from England to New York in 1912 when it hit an iceberg and sank. It was discovered in 1985 about 3.8 kilometers below the surface of the North Atlantic.
RMS Titanic Inc. is the recognized steward of the ship’s artifacts. Its collection includes silverware, porcelain and gold coins as well as the whistles of the Titanic and a piece of its hull.
The US government’s efforts to stop the expedition are pending before the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond.
In the meantime, the company said in its Friday court filing that it must fire leading Titanic experts: Dave Gallo, PH Nargeolet, Bill Sauder and William Lange.
The company said it “will look to re-engage them when the time is right before shipping, if and when it does eventually.”