One-hundred-and-seven years after sinking to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, the ruins of the RMS Titanic continue to rapidly disintegrate into the sea, according to a team of ocean explorers who recently revisited the wreck for the first time in 14 years.
Led by Victor Vescovo — who set a new deep-diving record after piloting a submersible to the bottom of the Mariana Trench (and finding plastic trash there) in May — the team descended 12,500 feet (3,810 meters) to the Titanic's wreck site off the coast of Newfoundland in a series of five dives earlier this month.
They found that the famous wreck has degraded considerably in the past 14 years, particularly near the officers' quarters on the ship's starboard side, resulting in the loss of some of the wreck's most iconic features.
"The captain's bathtub is a favorite image among Titanic enthusiasts, and that's now gone," Titanic historian Parks Stephenson said in footage filmed for an upcoming documentary on the expedition.
"That whole deck house on that side is collapsing, taking with it the state rooms. And that deterioration is going to continue advancing."
First discovered in 1985, the wreck of the Titanic sits in two pieces some 370 miles (600 kilometers) south of Newfoundland. While the ship's king-of-the-world bow and many interiors remain well preserved, much of the wreck is collapsed, corroded and encrusted in "rusticles" of brittle, deteriorated metal.