Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Titanic and the fate of its contents to be decided

What will be the fate of the Titanic and all of her contents? It has been almost 100 years since the most famous sinking in history occured as the Titanic struck an iceberg and went down in the North Atlantic.

Since the Titanic went down in international waters the wreck site and its artifacts have been subject to competing legal claims since an international team led by oceanographer Robert Ballard located the Titanic. The courtroom survivor is RMS Titanic Inc., also known as RMST, which gathered the artifacts during six dives. Courts have declared it salvor-in-possession, meaning it has exclusive rights to salvage the Titanic's artifacts. However, the court has also stated RMST does not own the 5,900 artifacts or the wreck itself.

US District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith, a maritime jurist who considers the wreck an "international treasure," is expected to rule that the salvaged Titanic items must remain together and open to the public. That would ensure the thousands of pieces of china and personal belongings will not end up in a collector's hands or in an auction house.

RMST is seeking limited ownership of the Titanic artifacts as compensation for its salvage efforts. In its court filing for a salvage award, the company put the fair market value of the collection at $110.9 million.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Impressive Video of the Underwater Volcano Eruption near Tonga

Spectacular columns are spewing out of the sea about 6 miles southwest of the main Tongan island of Tongatapu as an undersea volcano has been erupting for days. It is in an area where up to 36 undersea volcanoes are clustered. Here is some wonderful video of the eruption.