Titanic investors' hopes sink

A federal judge has said she is unlikely to grant ownership of nearly 6000 Titanic artifacts to the company that holds sole salvage rights to the sunken luxury liner.

    Salvaging operations have cost well over $200 million to date

    Officials from RMS Titanic were in the US District Court on Monday to decide the compensation the company should receive for its work salvaging the ship and preserving the artifacts.
       
    But Judge Rebecca Smith told company executives: "At this point, you should count on a negative response. You will not be entitled to full title of all of the artifacts."
       
    Expensive decision

    The company says it is owed $225 million in compensation for the five salvage dives it has financed.
       
    That price tag includes the estimated value of the artifacts: $71.5 million. 
       

    "At this point, you should count on a negative response. You will not be entitled to full title of all of the artifacts"

    Judge Rebecca Smith,
    US district court

    The company and its stockholders never realized the riches that they hoped for when they invested in the company, especially upon release of the 1997 blockbuster Titanic movie.

    Shares of RMS. Titanic stock have dipped as low as 7 cents. They closed in New York on Monday at $1.55.
       
    Violation of a grave?

    Complicating matters for the company is a treaty signed by Britain that would classify the salvage area as a grave site thereby greatly restricting retrieval of artifacts.

    The treaty cannot be enforced until the United States, Canada and France sign it. None of the countries have yet agreed to that.
       
    The famed Titanic sunk on its maiden voyage after striking an iceberg in the North Atlantic.

    Of the 2228 passengers and crew, 705 were saved. The wreck was discovered in 1985.

    SOURCE: AFP


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