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First Titanic dive in 14 years finds ship being ‘consumed’ by ocean

2019-08-22

A series of five dives were completed this month by an exploration team from Triton Submarines to the spot 370 miles south of Newfoundland, Canada, and 4,000 meters below the surface where the ship deemed "unsinkable" now sits on the ocean floor. (Atlantic Productions)

The first Titanic dive in 14 years found that the ship is being “consumed” by the ocean.

According to a release from Triton Submarines, an exploration crew with a representative from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration completed five dives over eight days to the wreck using the Limited Factor submarine.

After the luxury British passenger RMS Titanic liner made contact with an iceberg that scraped the side of the ship, it sank into the ocean on April 14 and 15 in 1912. Around 1,500 of the approximately 2,200 passengers and crew members on board died, as many of the lifeboats were initially under-filled when they departed from the ship, which had previously been deemed “unskinable” by some.

The ship lies nearly 4,000 meters below the surface of the ocean, around 370 miles south of Newfoundland in water that is just 1 degree Celsius on the surface. During the dive, expedition members held a ceremony to honor those who died in the incident and laid a wreath on the wreck.

Photos shared from Atlantic Productions show the tip of the ship covered with oceanic material that have gathered on it in the more than 100 years since it sank.

(Atlantic Productions)

Researchers found the ship has been impacted by salt corrosion, metal-eating bacteria and action from currents deep in the ocean.

“The most fascinating aspect was seeing how the Titanic is being consumed by the ocean and returning to its elemental form while providing refuge for a remarkably diverse number of animals,” Patrick Lahey, president and co-founder of Triton Submarines, said in a statement.

Victor Vescovo, chief pilot of the submarine and CEO of Caladan Oceanic, said the expedition team was happy the Limiting Factor could complete the number of dives and wants to see what the technology can do in the future.

“We are so pleased that we were able to repeatedly take the Limiting Factor down to the most historic ship lying on the ocean floor. Our success on Titanic clearly demonstrates we now have a proven system that can easily and repeatedly visit any ocean wreck, at any depth, anywhere in the world, and study it in detail. We’re seriously thinking about where to take her next.”

A documentary film from Atlantic Productions London will be released along with the full results of the expedition, Triton Submarines said.