A French explorer who died aboard the Titan submarine worked for many years at a controversial firm that has recovered 1,000 Titanic relics.
Paul Henry Nargeolet, 77, who earned the nickname Mr. Titanic as one of the wreck’s experts, led several expeditions for RMS Titanic Inc, which owns sole salvage rights.
The firm says it is “committed to preserving the ship’s heritage, the wreck site and all its passengers”, but its work has proved controversial. Critics accused it of trying to make the most of the ship involved in the tragedy, which claimed the lives of around 1,500 people, by “stealing and looting” it.
Nargeolot, who mentioned that his goal has always been “education and conservation,” had already made half a dozen positioning dives before boarding the Titan experimental submarine.
The various victims included British billionaire adventurer Hamish Harding, 58, Shahzada Dawood, 48, a UK-based board member of the Prince’s Trust charity, and his son Sulaiman Dawood, 19, and OceanGate chief executive Stockton Rush, 61.
PH Nargeolet, 71, was knowledgeable about the Titanic wreck and worked with the organization that recovered 1,000 artifacts from the positioning.
A bronze cherub that may have adorned the Titanic’s stairwell. The great navel staircase was decorated with many such gilded ornaments
A porcelain teacup used by a first-class passenger and a pocket watch by Titanic postman Oscar Woody
A platinum, 18-karat gold and diamond ring (left) that almost certainly belonged to one of the Titanic’s many first-class passengers is joined by a sapphire and diamond piece.
The RMS recovered artifacts from the wreck during expeditions in 1987, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000 and 2004.
A large number of jewels were additionally recovered from the wreckage.
They embody an 18 carat gold and diamond ring, dazzling necklaces and earrings.
In 2020, a British politician compared the RMS Titanic Inc to seafaring bandits, saying the work was a “stolen and looted” wreck.
Gavin Robinson, the DUP MP for East Belfast, the site of the Titanic, criticized US firm RMS Titanic Inc’s plan to salvage and display artefacts from the Titanic in Las Vegas.
RMS Titanic has always claimed to have wanted to protect the relics of the wreck earlier than they were continually abandoned. It communicated with the relations of souls who perished on board and obtained blessings for restoration missions.
The ship’s bell has been recovered from the wreck of the Titanic since its discovery in 1985. Above: A call seen in 2010
When the Titanic struck an iceberg and it became clear that the ship was going to sink, crew member Samuel Hemming was instructed by Captain Edward Smith to make sure that all 15 lifeboats had oil lamps lit. In 2012, the keys Hemming used to open the door where the lanterns were kept were bought for £20,000. It is significant that they have a tag with the ship’s name on them. In 2016, the keys came back on the market
In 2012, the menu for the last meal served to first class passengers on board the Titanic was bought for £76,000. The menu had been recovered by a survivor of the disaster
In his profession, Nargeolet recovered 5,000 artifacts from the ship and even lifted a 20-ton piece of the ship’s hull for evaluation.
Gadgets recovered from the ship in the tragedy have long captured the creativity of historians and hobbyists.
In addition, there is a large collection of individual items worn by the ship’s survivors and purchased privately, as well as the last menu served to first class passengers and the belongings of the ship’s crew.
Narjeolet was the director of underwater analysis on RMS Titanic Inc and has appeared in several films and documentaries on the ship.
The firm’s mission is to “explore the wreck of the Titanic and the surrounding ocean areas; acquisition of oceanographic material and scientific data; and use the data and retrieved artifacts for historical verification, scientific education, and public outreach”.
PH, as he has admitted to associates, was born in Chamonix, in the French Alps, but spent his early years in Africa with his dad and mom.
Nargeolet spent more than 20 years in the French Navy and has become a commander.
He then specialized in the manufacture of deep submersibles and in 1987 led the primary Titanic recovery expedition.
Nargeolet was married to American news anchor Michelle Marsh until she died in 2017 at the age of 63. He lived in Connecticut and his children live in Cork, Ireland.
RMS Titanic, built between 1909 and 1912 by Belfast shipbuilders Harland and Wolff, was the largest floating ship of her time. In the picture, the Titanic is undergoing sea trials
RMS Titanic, built between 1909 and 1912 by Belfast shipbuilders Harland and Wolff, was the largest floating ship of its time.
Titan, controlled by OceanGate, had its own strategy to destroy the wreck of the Titanic when it exploded.
The Titan was a recreational submarine that exploded while touring the wreck of the Titanic 12,500 feet below the Atlantic Ocean.
In 2016, RMS Titanic Inc and its parent company, Premier Exhibitions Inc, applied to the department and came here to auction the relics in their possession.
Some campaigners, along with Titanic director James Cameron, led an unsuccessful marketing campaign to have the gathering owned by a consortium of museums. The public sale never took place.
Nargeolet mentioned in 2012: “I remember being with (a relative of a Titanic victim) a lady who told me, ‘I don’t like what you’re doing because my father died on the ship.’
‘It’s fine with me. But I have met many survivors who love what we do. They believe this helps preserve the ship and its heritage.
He added: “I think it’s good to confiscate artifacts, it’s good for learning and preservation. That’s the goal.