'Nature will take its course': Titanic wreckage falling apart in deep sea
The wreckage of the Titanic is eroding to the point where it may soon be unrecognizable, according to one of the explorers involved in the latest trek to the most famous shipwreck in history.
"I don't think it's going to remain intact for much longer," Rob McCallum, a founding partner of EYOS Expeditions, told CTV News Channel on Thursday.
"Shipwrecks generally get to a point where the main frame starts to collapse and it'll implode in on itself."
McCallum was part of an undersea exploration team that made five dives to the ship over eight days earlier this month. Some of their discoveries were announced Wednesday along with the highest-definition video of the wreck taken to date.
The Titanic sank more than 600 kilometres off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador after hitting an iceberg during its maiden voyage in 1912. More than 1,500 people were killed.
The ship's wreckage was discovered in 1985, nearly four kilometres below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, and has occasionally been visited since. Plans to bring adventure tourists to the wreck site in 2018 were postponed twice and are now scheduled for 2020.
Those tourists had expected to be the first humans to see the wreck in-person since 2005. Instead, they were beaten to the punch by this month's expedition, which was conducted for both scientific research and as the basis for an upcoming documentary.
Using specially modified 4K cameras to capture footage of the Titanic "in a way it's never been seen before," the crew found that the wreck has deteriorated significantly since it was last explored. A partial hull collapse was noted.
"The most shocking area of deterioration was the starboard side of the officer's quarters, where the captain's quarters were," Titanic historian Parks Stephenson said in a statement.
"Captain's bath tub is a favourite image among the Titanic enthusiasts, and that's now gone. That whole deck hole on that side is collapsing."
The deterioration is expected to continue as the wreck remains in the just-above-freezing deep waters, with bacteria eating away at its iron and sulphur.
McCallum described the wreck as "very gracefully eroding away" due to the natural reactions that occur between "a metal vessel and a very salty sea.
"Nature will take its course. Ashes to ashes; dust to dust. Titanic will be returned as rust particles back into the ocean," he said.
More discoveries from the dive will be made public at an unannounced date in the future, when the documentary is released.