RMS CARPATHIA EXPEDITION
Images courtesy of Helmuth Biechl
A British led diving expedition with the objective of comprehensively filming and recovering artifacts from RMS Carpathia the rescue ship of the survivors of the Titanic have been successful. The wreck lies at 156m/514ft depth and was once considered beyond the realm of amateur sport divers.
Carpathia 2007 team photo courtesy Hemuth Biechl
The Carpathia herself succumbed to the depths on July the 17th in 1918 when she was struck by three torpedoes from the German U-boat submarine U55 approximately 120 miles west of Fastnet with the loss of 5 lives. She was in convoy out of Liverpool and bound for Boston after she was converted into a troopship playing an important role within the Merchant Navy by providing a vital link between Britain and its US and Canadian allies.
The expedition was led by Manchester Fire-Fighter Ric Waring (England) who had previously dived the wreck almost 5 years previous. Waring put a team together from Europe's top technical divers mainly from England Italy and Germany. Expedition diver Carl Spencer told DeepImage that the wreck lie very broken and damaged to the seabed with many artifacts spread all over the site. E went on to say that expedition diver and top technical diver Jeff Cornish from England had managed to recover a bridge telegraph which was handed over to RMST who own the wreck site. RMST were reportably on site with their own salvage tender making ROV footage. DeepImage believes this is the first telegraph Cornish has managed to recover from depth which for him is a great feat! Spencer went onto say that the dives were deep and the divers had problems with equipment imploding. Spencer himself has now led an expedition to the Britannic sister of Titanic as well as diving the Titanic wreck site with the Russians in 2003 and has taken dinner at the famous Olympic bar in North England. His connections with the White Star Ocean liners now make him a favorite with the liner community's conferences as a top guest celebrity speaker. Expedition diver Tim Cashman was successful in making video footage of the wreck which was broadcast on BBC television and Expedition leader Ric Waring took 35mm stills of the site.
RMS Carpathia in her glory days of Ocean sail
Challenges and Risks of the expedition
There are a number of inherent risks with the expeditionThe depth of the dive: 160m is generally considered to be outside the parameters of sports diving and into the realm of commercial mixed gas diving. To date, no wreck diving expedition in the UK has exceeded depths of 135 m. The team will be utilizing the latest mixed gas rebreather technology to reach these depths.
Most dives at these depths (i.e. 156 m) have been conducted in stable controlled environments e.g. in cave systems and not in open sea where conditions can suddenly deteriorate with divers in the water from four to seven hours. This means that safety procedures have to be very rigid and practiced and support for the divers should be close at hand to give assistance should anything go wrong.
The Carpathia wreck is over 200 miles from shore. Amateur expeditions are not usually conducted this far away from shore, especially in the North Atlantic. This distance from shore severely reduces the chances of rescue helicopters getting divers, who require recompression or hospital treatment, back to land in time.
Expedition dive vessel
Expedition diver Carl Spencer tending the support chase boat above the deco station
Leaders behind the logistics of the 2007 Expedition Ric Waring (left) & Jeff Cornish
Helmuth Biechl on the wreck of the Carpathia at 156m depth
This expedition is a great step forward for British / European Technical diving which is recognized by deepimage as one of the deepest successful wreck diving expeditions of this last decade. DeepImage staff would like to congratulate all team members.
Independent newspaper http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/this_britain/article2966964.ece
Northern Ireland News
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