The US government has taken legal action to prevent a Titanic expedition scheduled for 2024. They invoked a law safeguarding the shipwreck as a gravesite. RMS Titanic Inc., the company holding exclusive salvage rights to the Titanic's remains, is responsible for arranging the expedition.
The US, in a motion submitted to a federal court in Virginia, contends that RMS Titanic Inc. must secure authorization from the Secretary of Commerce before engaging in any research, exploration, salvage, or activities that would physically change or disrupt the R.M.S. Titanic wreck or its site, unless specifically authorized by the Secretary of Commerce.
As per the filing, RMS Titanic Inc. secured salvage rights via an order issued by the US District Court in Norfolk, Virginia, in June 1994.
In court documents submitted on Friday, the US asserted that RMST cannot simply ignore this law that has been validly enacted, in accordance with the international agreement.
RMS Titanic Inc. had expressed its desire to recover the ship's radio, and this request received approval from a US district judge in May 2020. In the court submission, the judge noted that the company's plan aimed to minimize any disturbance to the rest of the Titanic wreckage, including the ship's hull and the resting place of the 1,500 individuals who perished in the ship's sinking. However, the US government filed a legal challenge to prevent the execution of this planned mission, which ultimately did not proceed.
In a periodic report submitted this June, RMS Titanic Inc. indicated its plans for a 2024 expedition but stated that it had no intention of seeking a permit, as detailed in the motion put forth by the US government.
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