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.
Expeditions to recover Titanic artifacts have been a collaborative effort between RMS Titanic, Inc.; The French Oceanographic Institute; and the Moscow-based P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology. These expeditions have been conducted at the Titanic’s wreck site, located 963 miles northeast of New York and 453 miles southeast of the Newfoundland coastline, during the summers of 1987, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2004 and 2010.
Nautile and MIR submersibles are used for the recovery in Expeditions 1987, 1993, 1994, 1996 and 1998; these machines are equipped with mechanical arms capable of scooping, grasping, and recovering the artifacts, which are then either collected in sampling baskets, or placed in lifting baskets. The crew compartment of each submersible accommodates three people – a pilot, a co-pilot, and an observer – who each have a one-foot-thick plastic porthole between themselves and the depths. Both submersibles have the capabilities of operating and deploying a Remote-Controlled Vehicle on a 110-foot tether which is then flown inside the wreck to record images.
In the 2004 Expedition, the Remora 6000 Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) was used for the recovery of objects. This ROV was controlled from the surface via ROV pilots.