INTERNATIONAL maritime expert and Goleen man Michael Kingston has intervened in a bid to halt salvage efforts from the Titanic by a US interest, describing it as a grave of Irish emigrants which needs to be respected.
The London-based solicitor has intervened in a court case in the United States District Court in relation to an application by the salvage company RMS Titanic (RMST) Inc which seeks permission from the court to penetrate the hull of the Titanic wreck for the first time to retrieve the Marconi wireless telegraph.
Mr Kingston has written directly to the senior judge of the court, who is also presiding over the case, who will hear RMST Inc’s application this Friday. In his letter, which is supported through counter-signature by fellow Corkman and barrister, Ciarán McCarthy, Mr Kingston asks the court to reject RMST Inc’s application because of the need to consider the families of those who died, but also the ship’s other close connections with Ireland (in Cork and Belfast).
He cites Ireland’s preservation order on the Lusitania, which prohibits any penetration of the wreck as it is a grave site.
‘Either the Court goes ahead with a hearing and adjudicates in favor of further consultation and inclusivity of the interests I cite in Ireland and the United Kingdom (and elsewhere), or, with respect for the cost consequences for RMST Inc, that the hearing is adjourned indefinitely until discussions have occurred, and Ireland as a nation (and others) have had time to explain their interests and sensitivities properly, on behalf of their citizens and those who died.’
He added: ‘It should also be relevant to the court that much of my own work in international regulation and the drive to make seafarers, and passengers, a little safer stems for the fact that my own father died in a shipping disaster in Bantry Bay in 1979 (Betelguse) with 49 other people, 23 of whose bodies were never recovered.
‘I know all the families involved, and their continuing grief, albeit 42 years later, is incalculable. I therefore have a deep understanding of the sensitivities surrounding tragedy in shipping disasters and the longevity of grief,’ he has written.