Salvagers racing against time in Titanic
Divers scouring(四处搜索) the Titanic for diamonds said on Saturday they were racing against time before the wr eck is lost forever. But the youngest survivor of the 1 912 disaster pleaded with salvage(打捞) experts to leave the stricken liner alone. "We can see through scientifi c testing that the ship is deteriorating(腐蚀) at a very, very rapid rate. The ocean is basically eating the Tita nic alive," said G. Michael Harris, founder of the salv age company RMS Titanic Inc. "Our fear is that we are r acing against time to be able to rescue these artifacts and bring them back to the surface before they are lost forever, " he told BBC Radio. "We will hopefully be abl e to recover some of the first class luggage out of the cargo hold as well as the registered mial(挂号邮件), "he sa id.
He said they had recovered about five percent of th e artifacts off the Titanic which sand after striking a n iceberg on April 14, 1912, killing 1,500 crew and pas sengers.
Making the first manned dives into the wreckage(残骸) , they will be searching for a shipment of diamonds alo ng with passengers' jewelry that Titanic experts believ e was hurriedly stashed in pursers' bags as the ship wa s sinking on its maiden voyage. "Two brothers were comi ng out of Switzerland. They had a shipment of diamonds they were bringing back to New York with them that they lost on Titanic which today would be valued at over $30 0 million," Harris said.
Using manned submersibles(有潜入水中能力的) and a miniature (小型的) remote operated vehicle dubbed "a flying eyeball" and equipped with a video camera, the salvers(打捞人员) pla n to gather artifacts left behind in the front cargo ho ld and peer into adjacent rooms. Millvena Dean, the you ndest living survivor of the disaster who was just nine weeks old when the ship went down, said: "I think it is all wrong. I think the ship should be left in peace. An y bits and pieces that have come out form the ship on t he seabed- that is alright," she said. "But to go on th e ship- No that is all wrong." Harris, answering her cr iticism, said " We have worked very closely actually wi th Millvena Dean over the years. She has come to our ex hibits,she has come to our openings and we respect her and her family members." "Our job is to go out there an d preserve history and that is what we do…We should not leave those artifacts down there to be lost for future generations," he said. Florida-based RMS Titanic, which owns salvage rights to the Titanic, has made it clear t hat any artifacts would be preserved for display and no ne would be sold off.
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