Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Tulloch to Retrieve Portion of Titanic

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Tulloch to Retrieve Portion of Titanic

Article excerpt

The Titanic's maiden voyage, abruptly interrupted by an iceberg 84 years ago, could end in New York Harbor within a fortnight.

Well, sort of.

On Wednesday, George Tulloch, former BMW dealer and "salvor in possession" of the Titanic's remains, plans to haul a 13-ton chunk of the ship from its watery grave 2 1/2 miles beneath the Atlantic. If all goes as planned, he and the chunk will be steaming into New York on Sept. 1.

Critics call Tulloch's efforts a grave-robbing publicity stunt, but only Neptune can stop him. Tulloch's company, R.M.S. Titanic Inc., has legal rights to the wreck.

"The Titanic and its artifacts are being consumed by the ocean.We need to save what we can and we are here to do this job well," Tulloch said.

Robert Ballard, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution scientist who found the Titanic in 1985 with help from the Navy and the French government's oceanographic ag-ency, branded Tulloch's expedition "destructive" and "sad."

"It is as if a fleet of tractors had plowed the battlefield of Gettysburg," Ballard said in a statement.

Two cruise ships, charging thousands of dollars per cabin, will come alongside the expedition's research vessels next week as they attempt to lift a 400-square-foot section of the Titanic's hull to the surface.

Three survivors of the April 14, 1912, shipwreck will be present, as will actor Burt Reynolds and former astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin.

But wait, there's more: Titanic buffs can purchase coal lifted from the doomed ship's remains for $25 a lump. Included are a brass plaque inscribed with the purchaser's name and a certificate of authenticity signed by Tulloch. The coal comes in an attractive ebony-finished display case with a Plexiglas protective cover.

That's the sort of thing that suggests Tulloch cares more about making money than preserving history, said Karen Kamuda, vice president of the Titanic Historical Society in Indian Orchard, Mass.

More than 1,500 people died when the 882-foot Titanic went down after hitting an iceberg about 400 miles south of Newfoundland.Kamuda argues that Tulloch's efforts are the equivalent of selling tickets to the TWA Flight 800 recovery efforts off Long Island. …

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