Litter fouls Titanic's resting place


From News 24

Litter bugs on the high seas are fouling the Titanic's watery grave with beer cans, plastic cups, even soap boxes, a century after the "unsinkable" luxury liner went down, experts said.

Contrary to popular belief, the wreck of history's greatest maritime disaster is not swiftly rusting away 3 780m under the North Atlantic. In fact, it looks likely to stay intact for many decades to come.

"The basic hull remains very strong and very solid," said James Delgado, director of the marine heritage program at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a US federal agency.

"You still have wood and fabric preserved inside," said Delgado, who personally saw the Titanic up close from inside a Russian Mir submersible vehicle during an August 2010 expedition to precisely map its vast debris field.

"There has been some speculation that it's basically been rusting away and won't exist in 20 or 30 years," agreed Jamie Shreeve, who has closely followed the Titanic saga as science editor of National Geographic magazine.

"But the most reliable people that I've talked to don't think that it's going away any time soon," he said on the eve of a National Geographic Society exhibition on the Titanic and its legacy. "It's just too slow a process."

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