Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Mr Titanic' of France is among the missing from the submarine

 PARIS: The crew of a submarine that has vanished while examining the wreck in the Atlantic Ocean includes a French submarine operator and daredevil deep-sea explorer known as "Mr. Titanic."

Paul-Henri Nargeolet, 77, is a world-renowned diver who has openly discussed the dangers of his dives in the most remote waters of the world's oceans, frequently thousands of meters below the surface.

In 2019, he stated to the Irish Examiner newspaper, "When you're in very deep water, you're dead before you realise that something is happening, so it's just not a problem."

On Tuesday, in an effort to locate the tourist submersible that went missing near the Titanic's wreck with Nargeolet and four others aboard, rescue teams raced against the clock.

The family of Nargeolet informed the BFM TV channel that he was a member of the crew as well as British businessman Hamish Harding and prominent Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son.

Nargeolet, based in Connecticut, had already conducted more than 30 dives to investigate the Titanic and oversaw the recovery of approximately 5,500 objects, including a 20-ton fragment that is displayed in Los Angeles.

Following his retirement from a 25-year career in the French navy in 1985, the mythical ship became the focus of his second half of life.

In an interview he gave for the Cite de la Mer museum in Cherbourg, France, he stated, "Of course I'd seen reports on the subject, but I never imagined that it was going to play such an important role in my life." He was speaking about the subject.

His research, which was published in a book titled "In the Depths of the Titanic" in 2022, also led him to question the findings of British and American investigations into the disaster, which concluded that the ship was hit by an iceberg and suffered a 100-meter side gash.

He argued that five much smaller holes were to blame, based on his observations and scans of the scene.

- Salvage operations - The relatives of the 1,500 people who perished on the ship criticized his work recovering objects from the ship for the US-based owner of the wreck, RMS Titanic.

Some of them thought that the wreck should be left alone as a burial ground and that a private company should profit from the tragedy because it had been granted salvage rights under US maritime law for a long time.

Jewelry, a compass, and megaphones were among the 5,000 artifacts found around the wreck that were sold at an auction in 2011 for $189 million.

Nargeolet argued that the sales helped preserve the memories of those onboard and were required to fund additional dives.

Nargeolet stated to Le Monde in May of last year, "One morning, one survivor whose father had died in the catastrophe criticised me for recovering objects and in the afternoon another congratulated me and asked me to look for a pearl necklace that her mother had left on her bedside table."

Any bodies that went down with the ship would have been dissolved in the acidic sediment on the sea floor, and there have been no human remains discovered around the site.

In addition, Nargeolet served as a technical advisor on Victor Vescovo, an American explorer and private equity investor,'s 2019 "Five Deeps Expedition," which sought to discover the deepest points in each of the world's five oceans.

After descending 11 kilometers in the Mariana Trench of the Pacific Ocean, Vescovo's 4.6-meter (15-foot)-long submersible known as the DSV Limiting Factor set a record for the deepest dive.

In an interview with Le Monde last year, Nargeolet said that one of his plans for the future was to study the sea creatures that lived on the Titanic's rusting hull.

He stated, "The Titanic is an oasis in an enormous desert."

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