The latest offering covers the similar number of casualties recorded by P&O, which started losing ships six years earlier than Cunard. Of 78 wrecks sustained between 1837 and 1957, half of them sank during the two world wars, with a third of those ending up in diveable depths.
That charge is contested in Nesmeyanov’s book – “time, the currents and the bacteria did the job – time is the worst enemy of the Titanic”, says one commentator.
The Cameron missions were marked by tensions between the Russian submersible crew and the Hollywood demands of the American film-maker: “Here is James Cameron. There are no human rights here,” says one of the Russians in a particularly illuminating chapter.
So the accounts of the missions and the accumulating research continue, building an interesting picture of human endeavour 3.8km beneath the surface.
Nesmeyanov (whose father was, incidentally, Commander of the Soviet Navy in the Baltic) has succeeded in collecting these accounts in one place for the first time, and doesn’t shy away from considering the questionable ethics of some of those semi-hidden Titanic activities.
The last manned expedition was that of David Concannon, Richie Kohler and John Chatterton back in 2005, but tourist submersible visits are set to resume this year. If £45,000 seems a bit steep for a dive, perhaps settle for a good long read instead.