'Shocking' footage shows the true deterioration of the Titanic

travel 22/08/2019

When we think about the Titanic, our head usually floats toward the iconic film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. We imagine that big beautiful ship, navigating the icy waters until it hit an iceburg and sunk all the way to the seafloor.

Sometimes it's hard for us to cast our thoughts back to the real Titanic. The ship that sunk in April 1912, taking over 1500 lives with. 

While many often watch and rewatch the Titanic film, no one has visited the real Titanic for over 14 years.

And now a Kiwi has lead the first mission to visit the famed shipwreck since around 2005.

While it was quite the task to navigate to the ship in bitterly cold, -1c water, what he and his team found down in the depths is that sections of the ship have started to collapse beneath the water.

The decay was worst on the starboard side of the offices' quarters, where much of the wreck had been worn away.

The crew of Five Deeps Expedition, a team of explorers and videographers, was recording the very first 4K images of the ship, which is located about 640 kilometres off the coast of Newfoundland.

The footage of the wreckage located 3810 metres below the surface is the first in 14 years.

Victor Vescovo, who is leading the expedition, said the team used special submersible vehicles to visit the wreckage five times.

"It's big. It is a big wreck. I wasn't fully ready for just how large it was. And when it came up on sonar, it really stood out," Vescovo said.

The team also carried out special scans of the wreckage to help build 3D and virtual reality versions of the wreckage.

"It was just extraordinary just to see it all," Vescovo added. 

The wreckage of the Titanic has sat at the bottom of the ocean since 1912.

At a depth of 4 kilometres and in cold 1C water, the wreckage has become victim to the force of sweeping eddies and ever-changing sea currents.  

Salt corrosion, metal-eating bacteria and deep current action are blamed for most of the ship's deterioration, and experts say their relentlessness will be the final rivet in the Titanic's coffin.

Parks Stephenson, a Titanic historian, said some of the most iconic parts of the wreckage have collapsed and disappeared into the mysterious ocean floor.

"The captain’s bathtub is a favourite image among the Titanic enthusiasts, and that’s now gone. That whole deck hole on that side is collapsing taking with it the staterooms, and the deterioration is going to continue advancing," he said.

Once back on the surface, the team laid a wreath and held a ceremony to honour those who lost their lives in the disaster.