By SIMON DEAN
A DEEP sea probe sent to the Titanic’s wreck on the 100th anniversary of its sinking found a MOBILE PHONE in the doomed ship’s remains.
And AMAZINGLY, the Blackberry Curve model – discovered in the bathroom of Titanic Captain Edward Smith – was RINGING and in full working order! Undersea experts are BAFFLED by the find as the high-tech gadgets are not even supposed to be waterproof, never mind surviving the incredible water pressure of being more than TWO MILES under the Atlantic Ocean. RMS Titanic famously sank 100 years ago today in what became history’s most famous maritime mishap.
Of the 2,224 people on board, 1514 perished – either by drowning or of hypothermia in the icy North Atlantic Ocean. Only 333 bodies were ever recovered and taken ashore for burial. For the rest, the 46,000 ton wreck is their grave. And that makes one explanation for the mobile phone’s presence – that it was left by scrap metal salvagers – particularly upsetting. Maritime scrap metal expert Finbar O’Toole said: “Scrap metal from pre-Second World War ships is used by the makers of satellites as it is not contaminated by radiation which spread around the world following the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atoms blasts and the various atmospheric nuclear tests after the war.
“The Titanic represents the biggest single lump of un-irradiated metal on the planet and as such, is a huge prize for scrap dealers. “And who wants more metal than anyone else? Who is shooting satellites into space like they are going out of fashion? The Chinese.
“I would not be the least bit surprised if that mobile phone was left down there by a specialist scrap metal dealer from Nanking.” Last night the idea that the Titanic was being illicitly stolen, bit by bit, was angrily denied by the Bejing Association of Metal Reclaimers. A source said: “This is outrageous accusation and completely without foundation. Nobody from China is taking metal from Titanic. If you say this, you get visit in the night… you understand?”
And if the Titanic is being plundered in this way – by clumsy undersea pikeys who leave mobile phones at the scene of their crime – it won’t be the first time. Since its rediscovery in 1985, the wreck of the Titanic has been revisited numerous times by explorers, scientists, filmmakers, tourists and salvagers – who’ve recovered thousands of items from the debris field for conservation and public display.
The ship’s condition has deteriorated significantly in recent years, partly due to accidental damage caused by submersibles but mainly from an accelerating rate of growth of iron-eating bacteria on its hull. Boffins say that within the next 50 years the hull and structure of RMS Titanic will collapse ENTIRELY – eventually leaving only the more durable fittings of the ship mixed with a pile of rust on the seabed. Many artefacts from the liner have been recovered from the bottom of the ocean by RMS Titanic Inc., which exhibits them in touring shows around the world and permanently at the Luxor Las Vegas hotel and casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Last night Barry Arnett, whose great-great-grandfather Norris perished in the disaster, fumed: “This mobile phone is a smoking gun – a smoking gun that points to the crimes of the crafty Chinese. “I only regret that it was the Titanic that sank and not her sister ship, the Olympic. Because I find Chinese people saying ‘olympic’ very funny. “Is that racialist?”