August 30, 2010

Titanic Mapping Venture Slowed By Hurricane Danielle

The latest hurricane moving through the Atlantic Ocean, forced a high-tech expedition to temporarily suspend its efforts to create a detailed map of the Titanic wreckage.

American group RMS Titanic, which holds exploration and salvage rights for the wreck in the northern Atlantic, wrote on its Facebook page late Saturday that "Hurricane Danielle will force us to temporarily halt operations at the wreck site" as of Sunday.

"The team is working through the night to complete as many mission objectives as possible. To ensure the safety of all on board, we are heading back to St. John's, Newfoundland for a few days," the leaders of the expedition wrote. They plan to return to the wreck site "once the storm has passed."

Hurricane Danielle failed to make landfall but did reach Category 4 strength by Friday. It has since weakened and is now a Category 1 storm as it continues to sail through the open waters toward the north Atlantic. The storm should continue to weaken.

The RMS Titanic group expedition began work earlier this month to explore the ocean floor where the ship sank almost a hundred years ago, the team said Thursday. The crew is using an automated submersible vehicle with high-resolution video to create 3D images of the doomed ocean liner.

The crew arrived at the site last week and began its mission by laying flowers on the water's surface to commemorate the 1,500 victims of the shipwreck.

The team will use some of the most advanced technology available to create a portrait of the ship unlike any that has ever been created before. The team will "virtually raise the Titanic," and will post the images from their mission at www.expeditiontitanic.com.

The Titanic hit an iceberg during its maiden voyage on April 14, 1912 and sank in the early morning April 15, 1912. After decades of searching, the wreckage was discovered in 1985 more than 2 miles down on the ocean floor.