A U.S. federal judge has removed one more obstacle to efforts to retrieve the Marconi wireless radio equipment from the wreckage of the RMS Titanic.
According to an article published on the website of the ARRL, Judge Rebecca Beach Smith of the U.S. District Court in Norfolk, Virginia has ruled that the Marconi equipment “has significant historical, educational, scientific, and cultural value.” In her ruling, Judge Smith authorizes experts with R.M.S. Titanic, Inc. (the court-recognized steward of the ship’s artifacts) to “minimally cut into the wreck” if necessary to access the ship’s radio room, where its radio equipment is likely to be found.
However, the decision does not completely clear the path for a new underwater excursion to the wreck, located more than two and half-miles below the ocean’s surface some 370 miles off the coast of Newfoundland. The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has reportedly argued that any retrieval expedition is prohibited under U.S. law and under an international agreement between the U.S. and the United Kingdom. Further, NOAA claims that the benefit to be realized from cutting into the vessel would not be “worth the cost to the resource and not in the public interest.”