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RMS Titanic: Protection, Preservation & Peril

Titanic wreck Free public lecture to focus on the wreck of the RMS Titanic and how best to preserve it for future generations.

One of the world’s foremost authorities on the legal issues surrounding the protection and preservation of the RMS Titanic will deliver a free public lecture on the subject at BU next month.

Ole Varmer of the US-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will visit BU on Tuesday 13 April, to present ‘RMS Titanic: Protection, Preservation & Peril’ at 6.00pm in the Allsebrook Lecture Theatre. The lecture is free and open to anyone from the campus and local communities.

Varmer, an attorney-adviser to the NOAA’s Office of General Counsel for International Law, is primarily responsible for providing advice on cultural and historic resources, maritime zones and boundaries, coastal zone management, ocean dumping and polar issues.

His presentation will focus on whether Titanic is in ‘marine peril’ and he will explore the issues of in situ preservation to consider whether it remains the best solution for protecting this iconic wreck.

The lecture is organised by Paola Palma, Lecturer in Marine Archaeology and Programme Leader for the University’s Masters degree in Maritime Archaeology. Both Palma and Varmer will speak on ‘in situ’ preservation of shipwrecks at the Institute of Archaeologists annual conference in Southport (14-16 April).

Prior to the lecture on 13 April, Palma and her colleagues will display a number of artefacts raised from the Swash Channel Wreck, discovered off the Dorset Coast. BU is working to preserve the wreck, which dates from about 1620, in situ with a longer term hope of bringing substantial pieces of wreckage from the Swash to the surface for further study and conversation.

During the lecture, Varmer will examine the international and domestic law that applies to Titanic, including the international agreement to protect the wreckage, the NOAA Guidelines on the Exploration, Research and Salvage of Titanic, and the Law of the Sea.

He will also look forward to the year 2012 which will be the 100th anniversary of the sinking of Titanic and the same year in which the wreckage will come within the definition of “underwater cultural heritage” under the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage. As the US, the UK and other nations are not party to this Convention, what, if anything, this anniversary means for the protection and preservation of RMS Titanic.

Where: Talbot Campus, Bournemouth University BH12 5BB - The Atrium, Poole House & The Allsebrook Lecture Theatre
When: Tuesday 13 April 2010; 5.15 pm (tea/coffee); 6.00 pm (lecture).
Further information: To reserve your place please contact the BU Lectures team by email: or tel: +44 (0)1202 961032

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