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U.S. Seeks to Block Recovery of Titanic Artifacts

The New York Times

In late 1985, weeks after the shattered remains of the R.M.S. Titanic came to light, officials in Washington began seeking legal authority to regulate access to the famous shipwreck as part of a memorial to the more than 1,500 passengers and crew members who had lost their lives in 1912.


Now, the federal government is taking legal action to assert control over who can recover artifacts from the storied liner and, potentially, to block an expedition planned for next year.


“It’s a really interesting question,” said John D. Kimball, a partner at Blank Rome, a law firm in Manhattan, who teaches maritime law at New York University. “It’s an attempt by the government to enforce treaty provisions and goes to the question of who has authority over the wreck site. The issues are tricky and the rulings are likely to be appealed.”

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"U.S. Seeks to Block Recovery of Titanic Artifacts," by William J. Broad was published in The New York Times on August 30, 2023.