On April 15, 1912, the cruise ship the Titanic sank on its journey from Southampton, United Kingdom to New York City. A current controversy is ensuing regarding the possibility that there could still be human bodies within the Titanic. If there are bodies within the Titanic, some historians and persons at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration believe that the Titanic should be protected from looters, artifact hunters, and intense research. After all, just out of respect for victims, a grave site should not be the a place for looters. The ship is not a movie set.
The United States, France, Canada, and England are all likely to have a say on this matter. In 1986 Congress passed a law known as the RMS Titanic Memorial Act. However, the law is often criticised as lacking enforcement language. For example, the text of the law states that the purpose is to “To encourage international efforts to designate the R.M.S. Titanic as an international maritime memorial to those who lost their lives aboard her in 1912.” 16 U.S.C.A. § 450rr (West). However, the law does mandate that the United States Secretary of State enter into negotiations with the United Kingdom, France, and Canada to establish an international agreement to make the Titanic a permanent memorial.
US Senator John Kerry has introduced a stronger bill into Congress which will provide stronger protections for Titanic remains. However, the problem is that it is unclear which country has jurisdiction over the Titanic as it is in open seas. Still, many speculate that within the oxygen deprived hull of the Titanic, it is possible that hundreds of bodies are still there, likely to forever be preserved. Other say it is not possible that there are bodies. Nevertheless, is clear that one hundred years later, the Titanic still captivates the World.