The owner of the Lusitania wreck wants to launch an expedition to it…
F Gregg Bemis, the American owner of the Cunard liner Lusitania liner which was sunk by a torpedo of the Irish coast in 1915, is attempting to overturn an Irish High Court order redusing him permission to carry out a huge research expedition on the wreck. Lusitania was sunk by a U-20 and sunk within 18mins with the lost of 1,195 lives.
The vessel lies 100m down, 18.4km off the Old Head of Kinsale, in Cork, and is in pretty bad nick, having being depth-charged by the British Navy after WW1. Bemis was planning on spending $2 million on the expedition.
<a href=”http://www.unison.ie/irish_independent/stories.php3?ca=9&si=1080235&issue_id=10063″ target=”new”>More on this story in the Irish Independent >></a>
<a href=”http://www.lusitania.net/lastrestingplace.htm” target=”new”>Pictures of Bemis and the Lusitania >></a>
<a href=”http://www.lusitania.net/” target=”new”>The Lusitania Historical Society >></a>
<a href=”http://members.tripod.co.uk/irishwrecks/details/Lusitania608.htm” target=”new”>S.S. Lusitania on IrishWrecksOnline.net</a>
For all the years that the Lusitania has been on the ocean floor, it has been at the centre of controversy. Conspiracy theorists have pointed to supposed contraband carried below decks, others have speculated about the value of precious metals and jewellery aboard. There have been a number of accusations of attempted salvage cover-ups, and courtroom battles over ownership.
It has been claimed that Sir Hugh Lane, the director of the National Gallery of Ireland who was lost during the sinking, had with him on board paintings estimated at $60 million, including works by Rubens, Titian and Monet.
According to one rather far-fetched story, Lane had a premonition of disaster and had the paintings shipped within special sealed lead and zinc tubes to protect them from the perils of the sea. After speculation that containers matching this description had been seen on the wreck, the Irish government took the situation seriously enough to ban diving at the site entirely in 1995. Using the National Monuments Act, Minister Higgins placed a heritage preservation order on the site, the first of its kind on a shipwreck under 100 years old.
Irish, British and US courts recognise 71-year-old Gregg Bemis Jr, chairman of Deep Ocean Engineering, as the owner of the Lusitania, its fixtures and fittings, though not of its cargo or any personal possessions that might be found.
Bemis says that a crate from Lane is listed on copies of the manifest for the Lusitania’s last voyage, though he adds that the entry could have been added later. But there are no marks on the manifest indicating receipt of the crate or where it would have been located.
No comment, was the response Bemis received when he asked whether the Irish government had researched the “lost paintings” following the preservation order. But if such works were aboard, and they are ever recovered in acceptable condition from the Lusitania’s resting place in Irish waters, their future could be a matter of contention.</em>
From <a href=”http://www.divernet.com/wrecks/lusi0600.htm” target=”new”>Diving the Lusitania >></a>