First Manned Dives to the Titanic in 14 Years Raises Questions Over its Future

titanic bow
Image shows the bow of the RMS Titanic nearly 4,000 meters below the surface of the North Atlantic. Photo courtesy Atlantic Productions

A Florida-based submersible firm has completed the first manned dive to the wreck of the RMS Titanic in more than fourteen years, capturing ground-breaking footage that could help shed light on the condition of the wreck and its uncertain future.

The expedition was launched earlier this month by Triton Submarines, who sent their Triton 36,000/2 manned submersible, named Limiting Factor, to the bottom of the North Atlantic Ocean some 3,810 meters below the surface.

Triton said it made a total of five dives an eight-day period to the wreck, which is located some 370 miles south of Newfoundland. Triton President and Co- Founder Patrick Lahey piloted three of the five dives.

The ground-break dives captured for the first time native 4K footage of the Titanic using specially adapted cameras that will help scientists and researchers assess the Titanic’s current condition and help project its future. During the expedition, the team performed dedicated photogrammetry passes on the wreck that will allow highly-accurate and photo-real 3D models of the Titanic, making it possible to visualize the wreck using augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology.

One shocking finding from the expedition was the rate at which the Titanic is beginning to decay in the bitterly cold 1°C water, sweeping eddies and ever-changing sea currents. According to Triton, salt corrosion, metal-eating bacteria and deep current action are having the greatest impact on the wreck.

“The most fascinating aspect was seeing how the Titanic is being consumed by the ocean and returning to its elemental form while providing refuge for a remarkably diverse number of animals,” said Lahey.

While on the site, the team laid a wreath and held a ceremony in honor of those who perished after the “unsinkable ship” struck on iceberg and sank in April 1912.

The full results from Triton’s expedition will be published alongside a documentary film being made by Atlantic Productions London.

Triton noted that the dives were made following established U.S. legal protocols and under the observation of an on-board NOAA representative. Rob McCallum of EYOS Expeditions led in the planning and permitting. A team of Triton crew members were on site for dives, assuring that each dive was made safely.