Wreck of Titanic’s sister ship to become underwater museum
The wreck of the Titanic’s sister ship the Britannic could be turned into an underwater museum for tourists.
Simon Mills, a British marine historian who bought the wreck from the UK government in 1996, plans to give submarine tours of the well-preserved Olympic-class ocean liner.
The hospital ship sank off the Greek island of Kea in November 1916, while on its way to collect soldiers wounded in the Balkan campaign of the First World War.
Because the wreck lies at a depth of 122 metres (400ft), visitors will reach the ship in small submersibles.
“Our plan is to start off with three- or four-seater submersibles,” said Mr Mills. “The Titanic lies in the cold waters of the north Atlantic and is rapidly disintegrating because of iron-eating bacteria. In a couple of hundred years there will be very little that is recognisable. But the Britannic is completely different.
She lies in warm waters, is very well preserved and wonderfully intact. For so long she has been eclipsed by her older sister but she has her own story to tell.”
The four-funnel liner, modified to correct the defects that had contributed to the speed with which the Titanic went down, sank in under an hour after an unexplained explosion.
Thirty people were killed after lifeboats were sucked into the ship’s churning propellers. Recent sonar scan studies indicated that the ship had been sunk by a mine, but some historians have maintained that she was torpedoed by a German submarine.
“This project is not just about tourism but also about education, conservation and marine archaeology,” said Mr Mills. He also stressed that special care would be taken to preserve the integrity of the wreck, out of respect for those who died in its sinking.