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woensdag 4 januari 2012

Berichten uit het diepe: RMS Titanic (3) / Titanic 1912-2012

This year marks the centenary of Titanic's memorable sinking in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on April 15. RMS Titanic is without doubt the world's most famous shipwreck. Some 1.500 people of the roughly 2.200 on board died. And already some interesting bits of news have appeared in the past couple of weeks.

Auction in April

In the past ten years or so a huge trove of artifacts has been recovered from the bottom of the ocean by RMS Titanic Inc., a court appointed salvaging company. A federal judge in Virginia has now finally ruled that these items can be auctioned off by way of compensation.


RMS Titanic owns the rights to these discoveries and the resulting information coming from research, but not the artifacts or the wreck itself. The estimated value of the 5,500 objects is $189 million, but as usual auction estimates are conservative. Over the years, record prices have been achieved for even the smallest of objects.
In the past several years a parent company has organized a travelling exhibition of some of the objects. The scheduled date for the auction is April 1 at Guernsey's, the New York auction house.

Titanic Memorial Cruise

Almost nothing still seems to stir the imagination quite as much as the sinking of the supposedly unsinkable ship. Countless lives were cut tragically short.
If you want to visit the wreck, then you are probably out of luck. A British Company organizing a memorial cruise, recently announced it has almost sold out two cruises for people to mark the anniversary. Some of the guests will appear in period costume. So far, more than 2,000 Titanic enthusiasts from 24 different countries have booked.

MS Balmoral of Fred Olsen Cruise Line will leave from Southampton on April 8, retrace the route of RMS Titanic and carry the same amount of passengers as the original ship. A second vessel will leave from New York; both ships will meet at the approximate site of the sinking. Among those on board will be relatives of victims and survivors. Guests will dine from the same menus as in 1912.



Another travelling company offers the chance to visit the wreck in a Russian-built submarine during the summer. Places are 'limited' despite the pricetag of $59.000 per person.

'Disaster voyeurism'

The cruise has been criticised in some corners as 'disaster voyeurism' or even Thanatourism, meaning tourism to places of death and destruction. In Dutch this would translate into 'rampentoerisme', though this is usually restricted to current affairs.
In recent years Google has made this kind of tourism even possible without the actual need to travel by using techniques from Google Streetview, like in Haiti (2005), or comparing satellite photographs before and after of Fukujima (2011).
Twenty five years after its accident in 1986 officially guided tours
were announced for the Chernobyl area, ahead of the European Football Championship taking place in the Ukraine in the summer of 2012. These tours were however temporarily suspended in the middle of 2011. The tours were hugely popular.



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