Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

New images of Titanic beneath the sea

The starboard side of the Titanic bow is shown
The Titanic bow is shown
Headed for disaster: the Titanic leaving the dock at Southampton in 1912

For almost a century Titanic has been hidden more than two miles beneath the sea but now the latest technology has been used to bring its wreckage to life in stunning detail.

The Belfast-built ship sank in 1912 off the coast of Newfoundland in Canada after hitting an iceberg with the loss of more than 1,500 lives.

It was discovered in 1985 after an expedition led by Dr Robert Ballard.

Now, for the first time in five years, new images of the wreckage have been released.

A pair of robots were used to take thousands of photographs and hours of video footage, producing hi-resolution images of the bow, railing and anchors.

Una Reilly, who chairs the Belfast Titanic Society, said the images would help bring the ship’s story to life for a new generation of fans.

“Even today, nearly 100 years on, we are still learning new things about the Titanic,” she said.

“It’s a never-ending story, and these images will help bring more of that story to life and interest a whole new generation.

“These are the remnants of that beautiful ship which left Belfast – part of our history lies down |there and it’s a wonderful scientific site.”

The expedition left Newfoundland earlier this month and travelled to the spot in the Atlantic where the ship sank on its maiden voyage.

However, at the weekend, officials said they were leaving the site because high seas and winds brought on by Hurricane Danielle were preventing researchers from carrying out their work.

They intend to return later this week.

Sonar onboard automated submersible vehicles, combined with high-resolution video, will be used to create 3D images of the ill-fated ocean liner.

Experts are using some of the most advanced technology available to create a portrait of the ship unlike any that has been created before “virtually raising the Titanic,” and posting images from their mission online.

The expedition is a partnership between RMS Titanic Inc, which has exclusive salvage rights to the wreck, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.

Since oceanographer Robert Ballard and an international team discovered Titanic, most of the expeditions have either been to photograph the wreck or gather thousands of artifacts, like fine china, shoes and ship fittings.

Titanic movie director James Cameron also led teams to the wreck to record the bow and stern, which separated during the sinking and now lie one-third of a mile apart.

RMS Titanic was the largest passenger steamship in the world when she set off on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City on April 10 1912.

Four days into the crossing she struck an iceberg and sank at 2.20am the following morning, resulting in the deaths of 1,517 people in one of the worst maritime disasters in history.

An Olympic-class passenger liner, Titanic was constructed at the Harland and Wolff shipyard, but carried lifeboats for only 1,178 people.

The last living survivor was Millvina Dean from England, only nine weeks old at the time of the sinking. She died last year.

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