After 107 years beneath the waves of the Atlantic Ocean, the Titanic is succumbing to nature and collapsing in on itself. In early August, an international team of divers visited the world’s most famous shipwreck and were shocked to see the condition it was in. Metal-eating bacteria, salt corrosion and deep ocean currents have left the Titanic, which sits in 1C waters at a depth of 3,800 metres in the North Atlantic after sinking in 1912, on the brink of complete destruction.
Once iconic images of the captain’s bath tub are now a thing of history, as that has been completely destroyed and an entire deck has now collapsed.
And scientists involved in the dive believe the deterioration process will only speed up in the coming years.
Scientist Lori Johnson said: “The future of the wreck is going to continue to deteriorate over time, it’s a natural process.
“These are natural types of bacteria, so the reason that the deterioration process ends up being quite a bit faster, is a group of bacteria, a community working symbiotically to eat, if you will the Iron and the sulphur.”
Parks Stephenson, a Titanic historian, who was involved in the project as part of a documentary by Atlantic Productions, added: “The most shocking area of deterioration was the starboard side of the officer’s quarters, where the captain’s quarters were.
“Captain’s bath tub is a favourite image among the Titanic enthusiasts, and that’s now gone.
“That whole deck hole on that side is collapsing taking with it the staterooms, and the deterioration is going to continue advancing.”
Victor Vescovo, CEO of Caladan Oceanic and a submersible pilot, said: “It’s a big wreck, I wasn’t quite prepared for how large it was.
“It was extraordinary to see it all, and the most amazing moment came when I was going along the side of the Titanic and the bright lights of the submersible reflected off a portal and came right back, it was like the ship was winking at me. It was amazing.”
The Titanic is one of the biggest maritime disasters in modern history, with 1,517 people losing their lives.
The Titanic stood no chance as it made its way from England to the United States after a 75 million tonne iceberg, which had been building from snow which fell around 100,000 years previously, sunk it.
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Just after midnight on the morning of April 15, 1912, the Titanic arrived at its last-known coordinates around two hours and 40 minutes after hitting an iceberg.
It took over four hours to rescue the 711 survivors from the stricken vessel’s 20 lifeboats, using ladders, rigging and the ship’s forward cranes to make slings to haul up children and the infirm.