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Preserve Titanic site
March 24, 2009 - Jim Smith
A federal judge in Virginia is about the rule of the fate of the Titanic, which sank on its maiden voyage nearly a century ago and lies in international waters 2.5 miles below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean.
To her credit, U.S. District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith, is said to consider the oceanliner discovered in 1985 an "international treasure" and is expected to rule the salvaged artifacts must remain accessible to the public, together in a public collection.
Since the shipwreck was found, there has been an ongoing legal struggle for ownership of the salvage rights to the ship's valuable assets, as well as its historic artifacts.
Experts and government lawyers want the sanctity of the Titanic protected as a memorial to the 1,522 people who died when it went down on April 15, 1912.
"For the most part, the value of Titanic is its history -- and not from some pile of gold, silver and jewels," said Ole Varmer, an attorney in the international law office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, whose office has developed guidelines for the Titanic.
While the artifacts from Titanic would be fascinating beyond belief, there is a more pressing issue. The Titanic is a tomb and should be preserved as such.
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