A submersible making one of the first dives to the Titanic for 14 years last summer struck the wreck – but the collision was kept quiet until this month with the knowledge of the US government, claims salvor-in-possession RMS Titanic Inc.
US exploration company Caladan Oceanic organised the expedition, which involved five dives over eight days in early August, with a representative of US government agency the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) acting as an observer.
The two-person Triton submersible Limiting Factor had been hired by British company EYOS Expeditions to take Newcastle University scientists to study and record the condition of the 2.5-mile-deep wreck.
But on one occasion, while manoeuvring to deposit scientific samples, the pilot was said to have lost control as a result of “intense and highly unpredictable currents”, according to a report in the Telegraph.
The news comes days after the UK and USA announced “momentous” new levels of protection for the Titanic, as reported on Divernet . Scientists have reported rapid deterioration in the wreck’s condition.
EYOS co-founder and expedition leader Rob McCallum said that any damage resulting from the impact would have been minor. He said it had occurred at a point near a breach of the starboard hull, and that on their return the only sign had been a rust-stain on the side of the submersible.