Co. gets ownership of Titanic artifacts

Aug. 16, 2011 at 8:15 PM
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NORFOLK, Va., Aug. 16 (UPI) -- A Georgia company that salvaged more than 3,000 artifacts from the Titanic on the ocean floor has won ownership of the items after a 20-year court battle.

U.S. District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith's decision Monday in Norfolk, Va., gives RMS Titanic Inc. control of the items, but stipulates they be preserved and can be sold only under limited conditions, The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot reported.

The items -- including china, jewelry, playing cards, musical instruments and a large piece of the ship's hull --- have been displayed in exhibitions worldwide by RMS's parent company, Premier Exhibitions Inc.

Premier said in a news release Monday it was reviewing the decision and would issue a statement "as soon as possible."

The judge denied RMS, while it was under previous ownership, a $110 million salvage award the company had sought, but gave it control of the items, which can be used for profit. Instead, the judge ordered the company to research ways to permanently preserve the objects, leading to numerous covenants and conditions.

RMS keeps artifacts that are not on display in a climate-controlled warehouse.

The Titanic sank after hitting an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean in 1912, and all but 705 of its 2,228 passengers died.

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