Since 1987, RMS Titanic, Inc. has honorably conducted eight research expeditions to the wreck of Titanic, culminating in its most technically advance dive in 2010.
Using IFREMER's state-of-the-art technology, including the manned submersible Nautile, the expedition team recovered some 1,800 objects. Iconic artifacts included instruments from the stern Docking Bridge, a decorative cherub and several pursers' or leather traveling bags.
In April 1993, RMS Titanic, Inc. and IFREMER conducted a second joint expedition to Titanic's wreck site with the French research and recovery ship Nadir. The French American team recovered approximately 800 artifacts, including a set of the Ship's whistles, a double lifeboat davit and base, and a two-ton engine eccentric strap. Almost miraculously, along with these heavy metal objects, a delicate jet bead and a child's marbles were also brought to the surface.
In the summer of 1994, RMS Titanic, Inc., with IFREMER, returned to Titanic's wreck site. Artifacts including personal effects such as a boot, binoculars and a 2-ton set of bollards, which once secured Titanic's mooring lines, were recovered. In addition, a 17-ton section of the Ship's hull, found lying on the seabed, was painstakingly measured by Nautile for retrieval at a later expedition. The artifacts recovered subsequently went on exhibition at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England where they were seen by over 720,000 people.
This was RMS Titanic, Inc.'s fourth mission and one that conducted groundbreaking scientific investigations into the wreck. Using the most sophisticated research tools available and advanced techniques of reverse engineering, forensic science, and crash investigation, an international team of naval architects, microbial biologists, metallurgists, and historians from five countries examined the Ship and attempted to solve the mysteries surrounding the disaster. To determine how fast Titanic is corroding on the seabed, Canadian microbiologist Dr. Roy Cullimore conducted investigations into the "rusticles," elaborate colonies of iron-consuming microorganisms that cover nearly every surface of the hull. Cullimore concluded that the iron-eating microbes have already consumed as much as 20 percent of the bow. The major purpose of the 1996 expedition, however, was to record and document the wreck in detail. This was an ambitious agenda and would last 30 days. IFREMER's Nadir and Nautile were once more employed as well as Ocean Voyager, an oceanographic research ship, which carried four purpose-built Edison light towers, and served as a filming base for the documentary film shot by the Discovery Channel and the Ellipse program of France during the expedition.
This expedition was the fifth one for RMS Titanic, Inc. and IFREMER continued many of the scientific investigations it started on Expedition 1996. In addition, new debris fields were discovered, including an area west of the stern section containing a significant amount of passenger baggage. The team recovered remarkable artifacts with the assistance of the recovery vessel Abeille Supporter, including the D-Deck Door, and, most significantly, a 17-ton section of the hull, which came to be known as The "Big Piece". This is the largest and most significant section of the Ship ever recovered. Examinations of the hull made it clear that Titanic is deteriorating more rapidly than previously thought. As a result, the ongoing scientific investigations into the physical events surrounding the sinking became more urgent. Expedition 1998 also established, for the first time in history, a live fiber-optic television link from the bottom of the ocean, permitting viewers to watch in real time the exploration of the wreck by a manned submersible, and thus earning the record for the deepest underwater live broadcast.
This was RMS Titanic's sixth expedition to the wreck site. For this endeavor the Company utilized the services of the Russian P.P. Shirshov Institute, its research vessel Keldysh, and its submersibles MIR I and MIR II. Knowledge of the Ship was increased by the exciting recovery of the main wheel and steering stand, the navigating bridge wheel steering stand, two engine telegraphs, an automatic whistle timer, and the capstan controller wheel and stand from the docking bridge. The most astonishing recovery of the Expedition may well have been sixty-five perfume vials belonging to first-class passenger Adolphe Saafeld of Manchester, England. When this miraculous find was brought into the conservation laboratory, the aroma of Edwardian perfume filled the air stopping everyone in their tracks.
RMS Titanic, Inc. conducted its seventh research and recovery mission to Titanic's wreck site. The mission utilized a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) rather than the manned submersibles used on previous expeditions. The ROV, provided by Phoenix International, Inc., was equipped with cameras, lighting systems, and two manipulator arms that allowed for the team to engage in round-the-clock underwater operations and to watch those operations in real time from the surface. A variety of artifacts were recovered during the expedition, each rescue documented as to time and location by video, still photographs, and written notations. Perhaps the most exciting artifacts rescued were two never-before seen: a gilded wall sconce from the À la Carte Restaurant and the frame of a tile from the Turkish Bath. The tile still retains, and finally documents, the vibrant blue color used in the decor of the Bath.
Conducted in the summer of 2010, the team returned to the wreck site in what is considered the most technologically advanced scientific expedition to Titanic ever organized. RMS Titanic, Inc. brought together a team of leading archaeologists, oceanographers and scientists to take innovative measures to virtually raise Titanic, preserving the legacy of the Ship for all time. It is the Company's purpose to preserve the memory of Titanic and of all who sailed with her, and to promote that memory with respect and regard for the Ship's historical and maritime significance.