Has the Titanic been plundered by looters? The question is raised by Titanic enthusiasts who are worried that with modern technology, and no one to guard the Titanic, there is every possibility that greed and a hungry market for Titanic memorabilia is threatening the wreck site.
Only one company is legally allowed to remove items from the wreck of the Titanic. It is RMS Titanic, the company that owns the Artifacts Exhibit, now on in Winnipeg, Las Vegas, and several other locations.
Dr. Robert Ballard, the man who found the Titanic on September 1st, 1985, has remained greatly opposed to the recovery of objects from the wreck site. The way the law works, the first person to remove an item from a shipwreck has the opportunity to make a legal claim to salvage the site. Dr. Ballard took nothing but pictures away from Titanic, and lost the opportunity to protect her from the removal of artifacts that subsequently followed in a number of expeditions. Something close to 6,000 items have been catalogued by the salvage company.
Dr. Ballard returned to Titanic in 2004 and was dismayed to learn of the damage that has been caused to the wreck by submarines visiting the wreck site. In this video clip, an excerpt from “Titanic Revealed”, a program produced for the National Geographic channel, Dr. Ballard expresses his concerns about the Titanic being torn apart by looters, motivated by profiting on the keen interest in Titanic items. Ballard explains how cameras trained on the wreck could not only protect Titanic, but could bring the entire world to the Titanic in real time.