- On 10/04/2015
- In Famous Wrecks
By Ed Carty - Belfast Telegraph
The owner of the RMS Lusitania has accused the Irish government of abandoning the shipwreck to pirates and treasure hunters after stringent rules on diving scuppered his plans for recovery.
Gregg Bemis, an 87-year-old US entrepreneur, said tough conditions imposed on his lifelong quest to save valuable and historically important artefacts from the sinking ground 11 miles off the Old Head of Kinsale were "spiteful".
The Cunard vessel was torpedoed on May 7, 1915 by a German U-boat en route from New York to Liverpool and sank with the loss of 1,201 lives.
Mr Bemis has spent decades trying to confirm a theory that the sinking - 18 minutes compared to two hours and 40 minutes for the Titanic - was hastened by a second explosion caused by a secret cache of munitions destined for Britain's war effort.
"The Government officials are so glib and innocent sounding like they walk on water, but they add all these restrictions on and throw them at me so they interfere and impede," he said.
One of the conditions ordered Mr Bemis to indemnify the Irish state against any incidents or injury if he organises a dive on the veritable Aladdin's Cave.