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Sunday, July 22, 2018

Will the Titanic Sink Again?

One hundred years after RMS Titanic sank,a film draws attention to the forces that threaten its wreckage. Filmmaker Robert Ballard tells Talk why he wants to save the legacy of history’s most famous ship.

Written by Prajakta Hebbar | Published: April 17, 2012 2:44:44 am

One hundred years after RMS Titanic sank,a film draws attention to the forces that threaten its wreckage. Filmmaker Robert Ballard tells Talk why he wants to save the legacy of history’s most famous ship.

The “unsinkable Titanic” has now become a macabre museum for treasure hunters,rues Robert Ballard,the man who had discovered the ship’s wreckage in 1985. The priceless artefact that pack the ship lure looters from across the world. “It has become a museum without a guard at the door,” says Ballard. To create awareness about this problem,and mark 100 years of the sinking of the ship,Ballard has created a documentary called Save the Titanic. The film premiered on National Geographic on April 14,and was telecast again on April 15.

Save the Titanic revisits the ship’s history from the perspective of those who set sail on her 100 years ago. “The ship’s construction took place at Belfast,Ireland,and the shipping company appointed nine people to represent the ship out of 10,000 workers who helped create her. After the tragedy,families of the workers refused to talk about it because of the shame and sadness about the loss of lives involved. After three generations,they are ready to share the stories,” says Ballard.

The story of the Titanic has slipped into folklore and is the subject of the Oscar-winning Hollywood film,Titanic by James Cameron. One of the largest ships ever built,the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage on April 15,1912,drowning more than 1,500 passengers in the North Atlantic Ocean. “With the film,I wanted to answer a personal question — Will the Titanic survive another 100 years? This is because,besides natural forces,careless visitors and rogue salvage operations are threatening her final resting place. My endeavours are now directed to protect the legacy of history’s most famous ship,” says Ballard,69,an American oceanography professor and former US Navy officer,who worked with Cameron on the film.

Ballard,who is fascinated by Captain Nemo from Jules Verne’s classic 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,adds that discovering the wreck of the Titanic has been the most cherished of all his works. His interest in the ship began in the 1970s but the opportunity to track its ruins came when he was part of a secret Navy mission. The first sight of the Titanic is something that will always be vivid in his mind. “On the night of September 1,1985,at 2am,there was a knock on my door and the cook put his head in and insisted that we all come down. I ran into the control room,and through the camera,saw the boiler of the Titanic. Exactly as the one in the picture we had put up on the desk,” recounts Ballard.

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