Explorers have discovered that parts of the Titanic are decaying at an alarming rate.
In the first venture to the shipwreck in nearly fifteen years, an international team of divers found that the vast majority of the ship, once the largest ship in the world, is being eaten by metal-eating bacteria.
As it sits 3,810 metres below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, the Titanic is also being damaged by salt corrosion and deep ocean currents, with experts predicting that the ocean liner once branded ‘unsinkable‘ will be gone entirely within the century.
The first new images of the wreck of the Titanic in 14 years show that the iconic ship is deteriorating
— Sky News (@SkyNews) August 21, 2019
The group discovered that the hull near the officers’ quarters on the starboard side of the ship (on the right), which includes features such as the luxurious stateroom accommodation, has begun to collapse, according to Caladan Oceanic, a private company which advocates the advancement of undersea technology.
One of the historians on the Titanic expedition, Parks Stephenson, said, ‘The captain’s bath tub is a favourite image among the Titanic enthusiasts, and that’s now gone […] That whole deck … on that side is collapsing taking with it the staterooms‘.
Images from the dive shared widely on the web show the ship’s bow (the front point of the hull) covered in rusticles, formations which occur when wrought iron oxidises, a process also known as rusting.
In 1996, protests were sparked when large sections of the Titanic, including the 15-tonne section of the liner’s steel hull, were brought to surface by a team of experts which included Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin. Historians condemned the project as grave-robbing, saying the ship ‘should be left on the sea bed as a memorial to those who lost their lives, and a reminder‘. However, calls to surface the Titanic have reemerged along with the latest images of decay, with some Titanic experts saying that it could be resurfaced in a similar fashion to the Mary Rose, which was raised in 1982 after more than four centuries under water.
The RMS Titanic has sat on the sea floor about 370 miles south-southeast off the coast of Newfoundland, a Canadian provincial island, ever since its collision with an iceberg in the late evening of 14 April 1912 during its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York. Over 1,500 of the 2,2000 passengers and crew died in the sinking of the Titanic, details of which can be explored at Southampton’sSeaCity Museum, which includes a permanent exhibition entitled ‘Southampton’s Titanic Story’.