Published: Thu, January 23, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

New U.S.-British treaty guards RMS Titanic wreck site

New U.S.-British treaty guards RMS Titanic wreck site

UK's Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani confirmed during a Tuesday Visit to Belfast that the world's most famous shipwreck, the RMS Titanic will be rigorously protected under an global agreement.

For the first time in the almost 108 years the Titanic has sat at the bottom of the North Atlantic, an worldwide agreement with broad protections will safeguard the steamship's remains.

The wreck of the Titanic was discovered in September 1985 approximately 350 nautical miles off the Canadian coast of Newfoundland, two and a half miles below the ocean surface.

The RMS Titanic famously broke up and sank five days into its maiden voyage across the Atlantic in April 1912, after hitting an iceberg.

The treaty was originally signed back in 2003, but has only now come into force following its ratification by USA secretary of state Mike Pompeo in November, according to the Department for Transport.

So far, the wreck was not explicitly protected by law because it lies in worldwide waters.

Canada and France participated in the negotiations but have still not signed the agreement. The Titanic was considered an "unsinkable ship" and in 1912 was the largest passenger ship sailing over water.

More than 100 years after the ill-fated ship sank to the bottom of the sea when it hit an iceberg, the formal agreement includes managing and safeguarding one of the world's most culturally significant sites.

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The Titanic took on water some fifteen times faster than could be pumped out, with the hull damage proving too extensive for the vessel's watertight bulkheads to keep the flooding from spreading across the liner's compartmentalised lower decks.

More than 1,500 people were killed in the disaster.

Dozens of expeditions to the wreck have been carried out since Titanic's final resting place was discovered 35 years ago.

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She will mark the signing of the treaty with the United States by visiting the 1851 Trust Maritime Roadshow for Girls in Belfast.

The event aims to inspire girls to study science, technology, engineering and maths, known as "Stem" subjects, which are vital in the maritime sector. The Titanic incident led to the drawing up of the SOLAS (Safety of Lives at Sea) Convention in 1914, which sets the minimum safety standards by which ships are required to comply worldwide.

Multiple countries have been negotiating an worldwide agreement to protect and preserve the wreck since 1986, with the ratification of the treaty by the United Kingdom and USA marking a hugely significant step forwards.

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