Wednesday January 20th, 2021 1:48AM

Pandemic has imperiled plans to retrieve Titanic's radio

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Fallout from the coronavirus pandemic is threatening a company’s plans to retrieve and exhibit the radio that had broadcast distress calls from the sinking Titanic, according to a court filing made by the firm.

The company, RMS Titanic Inc., said Monday that its revenues plummeted after coronavirus restrictions closed its exhibits of Titanic artifacts, causing the firm to seek funding through its parent company. Some of the exhibitions, which are scattered across the country, are still closed, while others that have reopened are seeing limited attendance.

RMS Titanic Inc. recently missed a deadline with a federal admiralty court in Virginia to submit a funding plan for the radio expedition. The company left open the possibility that it may no longer seek the court’s approval for the undertaking if a plan isn’t submitted in the coming weeks.

The company’s update, filed with a U.S. District Court in Norfolk, was made in the midst of an ongoing court battle with the United States over whether the expedition is legal.

Lawyers for the U.S. government have argued that the mission is barred under federal law and an international agreement with Britain. The attorneys say the company must seek the government's permission to remove the radio because the sunken vessel is a recognized memorial to the roughly 1,500 people who died.

The luxury ocean liner was traveling from England to New York in 1912 when it struck an iceberg and sank. It was discovered in 1985 about 2.4 miles (3.8 kilometers) below the surface of the North Atlantic.

RMS Titanic Inc. owns the salvage rights and oversees a collection of items recovered from the wreck as the court-recognized steward of the artifacts. They include silverware, china and gold coins as well as the Titanic’s whistles and a piece of its hull.

Exhibiting the radio will help sustain the ship’s legacy while honoring passengers and crew, the company has argued. Known in 1912 as a Marconi wireless telegraph machine, the radio sent distress calls to nearby ships that helped save 700 people in lifeboats.

The U.S. government's effort to stop the expedition is pending in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond. But the company’s funding woes appear to pose a more immediate threat.

“The pandemic and resulting governmental restrictions forced the company to temporarily close its exhibitions to the public, effectively shutting off its primary source of revenue for six months,” RMS Titanic Inc. wrote in Monday’s filing.

The Atlanta-based company said only a few of its exhibits, including one in Las Vegas and another in Orlando, have reopened. They're operating at diminished capacity and revenues "remain very low."

The company said it received more than $700,000 through the Paycheck Protection Program. And it expects to get $3 million in funding through its parent company, Premier Acquisition Holdings, LLC.

A federal admiralty judge in Norfolk had approved the planned expedition in May. But the approval was conditioned on the firm submitting a plan detailing costs and funding for the operation and conservation of the recovered equipment.

RMS Titanic said in Monday's filing that it's still trying to finalize that plan despite missing a Jan. 10 deadline. It said the plan “will depend on a complicated, multi-faceted commercial transaction between RMST, an international production company, and deep-sea salvage experts."

The company said it hopes to submit a plan by Jan. 29. But if it's unable to, the firm said it would withdraw its original motion seeking the court's permission to retrieve the radio.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Business
© Copyright 2021
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Sage grouse review done, but scant time for Trump's changes
The Trump administration has completed a review of plans to ease protections for a struggling bird species in seven states in the U.S. West, but there’s little time to put them into action before President-elect Joe Biden takes office
2:24PM ( 1 minute ago )
IRS gets more relief payments out after delays
The IRS said that after initial problems, it is getting more of the second round of relief payments to taxpayers
2:06PM ( 19 minutes ago )
Pandemic has imperiled plans to retrieve Titanic's radio
Fallout from the coronavirus pandemic is threatening a company’s controversial plans to retrieve and exhibit the radio that broadcast distress calls from the sinking Titanic
1:55PM ( 30 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
COVID fears grow in Capitol as three lawmakers test positive
Within a span of about 24 hours, three House Democrats have announced they tested positive for COVID-19
1:41PM ( 45 minutes ago )
The Latest: Report says FBI warned of plans for the assault
According to a report in The Washington Post, the FBI had warned that extremists were preparing to come to Washington, attack Congress and engage in “war.”
1:23PM ( 1 hour ago )
Officer with knee to George Floyd's neck to be tried alone
A former Minneapolis police officer who held his knee to the neck of George Floyd for minutes will be tried separately from three other former officers accused in his death
1:17PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
The Latest: 15,000 National Guard troops to deploy to DC
A total of 15,000 National Guard members have now been activated and will deploy to Washington, D
12:08PM ( 2 hours ago )
Sheldon Adelson, casino mogul and GOP power broker, dies
Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire mogul, Republican mega-donor and power broker who built a casino empire spanning from Las Vegas to China and became a singular force in domestic and international politics has died after a long illness
12:06PM ( 2 hours ago )
Third lawmaker in lockdown tests positive for COVID-19
A third Democratic member of the House who was forced to go into lockdown during last week’s violent siege at the U.S. Capitol has tested positive for COVID-19
11:46AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online National News
The Latest: Another lawmaker positive after Capitol lockdown
A Democratic congressman from Illinois who was forced to go into lockdown during last week’s deadly siege at the Capitol has tested positive for COVID-19
1:14PM ( 1 hour ago )
GM charges up new unit to sell electric delivery vans, gear
General Motors is forming a new business unit to tap the market for delivery vehicles and equipment powered by electricity
12:15PM ( 2 hours ago )
Boeing deliveries drop despite 737 Max's return to flight
Boeing is reporting final 2020 numbers for airplane orders and deliveries, and they are down from 2019 even though the 737 Max is flying again
11:46AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Business
Pompeo cancels last trip abroad as concerns of violence grow
The State Department says Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has canceled what would have been his final official trip abroad as concerns grow over potential violence at next week's presidential inauguration
1:51PM ( 34 minutes ago )
Pompeo hits Iran for al-Qaida support on his way out
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is accusing Iran of having secret ties with the al-Qaida network and he imposed sanctions on several senior Iranian officials
1:51PM ( 35 minutes ago )
Schumer calls for speedy confirmation of Biden Cabinet picks
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says the violent mob at the Capitol last week underscored the need for a swift confirmation of President-elect Joe Biden’s national security picks
1:48PM ( 37 minutes ago )
No choice: Dutch PM extends coronavirus lockdown by 3 weeks
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has extended his country’s tough five-week lockdown by a further three weeks amid concerns that infection rates are not falling quickly enough and fears about the new more transmissible variant first detected in the United Kingdom
1:45PM ( 41 minutes ago )
Stocks drift on Wall Street; Treasury yields keep rallying
U.S. stocks are drifting near their record heights Tuesday, while Treasury yields keep marching higher amid expectations that the economy will pull out of its slump after a powerful recovery sweeps the globe later this year
1:43PM ( 43 minutes ago )