Titanic undertaking: Chronicling ship’s decay
- On 21/07/2021
- In Famous Wrecks
By Ben Finley - The Columbian
The Titanic is disappearing. The iconic ocean liner that was sunk by an iceberg is now slowly succumbing to metal-eating bacteria: holes pervade the wreckage, the crow’s nest is already gone and the railing of the ship’s iconic bow could collapse at any time.
Racing against the inevitable, an undersea exploration company’s expedition to the site of the wreckage could start this week, beginning what’s expected to be an annual chronicling of the ship’s deterioration. With the help of wealthy tourists, experts hope to learn more about the vessel as well as the underwater ecosystem that shipwrecks spawn.
“The ocean is taking this thing, and we need to document it before it all disappears or becomes unrecognizable,” Stockton Rush, president of OceanGate Expeditions, said Friday from a ship headed to the North Atlantic wreck site.
The 109-year-old ocean liner is being battered by deep-sea currents and bacteria that consumes hundreds of pounds of iron a day. Some have predicted the ship could vanish in a matter of decades as holes yawn in the hull and sections disintegrate.
Since the ship’s 1985 discovery, the 100-foot forward mast has collapsed. The crow’s nest from which a lookout shouted, “Iceberg, right ahead!” disappeared. And the poop deck, where passengers crowded as the ship sank, folded under itself.