Titanic Artifacts Arrive in France for Viewing Next Month
Sep. 19, 1987
LORIENT, France (AP) _ Jewelry and wine bottles recovered from the sunken Titanic were among hundreds of items that arrived in this military port Saturday en route to Paris to be shown on television next month.
A huge crate was unloaded at this Brittany port in northeastern France from the Abeille Supporter, the support ship that took part in a 7-week diving expedition that ended Sept. 9.
Customs officials and a state prosecutor were the only people to whom a list of crate's contents was presented.
Taurus International, a French-based company that organized the expedition, has said in the past that plates, wine bottles, a leather satchel and jewelry are among the items recovered.
The salvaged items, kept in a saline solution to avoid decomposition, were placed in an armored car for transport to Paris.
The Titanic, billed as unsinkable, hit an iceberg on its maiden voyage April 14, 1912, and sank in the northern Atlantic, about 560 miles off the coast of Greenland. More than 1,500 of the 2,200 passengers aboard died.
Taurus officials said they culled more than 10,000 photos from the adventure and miles of video tape, which is to be shown Oct. 28 along with the items.
The French news agency, Agence France-Presse, said the items were to be be kept in a secret Paris location over the weekend. They will be taken on Monday to the suburban Saint Denis laboratory of the state-owned electric company, where they will be treated to avoid damage.
Taurus officials said they hope to recover as much as $4 million of the $6 million cost of the expedition in a television program presented by the Hollywood firm WestGate Productions and broadcast worldwide from Parc de la Villette, a science showcase in Paris.
A roving museum scheduled to open in July 1988 to display the Titanic artifacts is expected to recoup the rest of the money.
The expedition was undertaken with sophisticated diving equipment from the French Institute for Research and Exploitation of the Sea; Taurus provided the organizational work and an unnamed British-registered company gave financial backing.