ST. JOHN’S, Newfoundland — An expedition surveying the wreck of the Titanic is showing off some crisp images of the world’s most famous shipwreck, but officials said Sunday they are headed back to shore. Officials from Expedition Titanic said in a statement they are now headed back to Newfoundland because high seas and winds brought on by hurricane Danielle are preventing researchers from carrying out their work.
The team of scientists have been using a pair of robots to take thousands of photographs and hours of video of the wreck, which lies roughly 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) below the surface.
The hi-resolution images include shots of the ship’s bow, clearly showing the railing and anchors.
The expedition left Newfoundland earlier this month to the spot in the Atlantic where the ship struck an iceberg in 1912 and sank. More than 1,500 passengers and crew perished on the ship’s maiden voyage.
Scientist are using imaging technology and sonar devices that never have been used before on the Titanic wreck. They are probing nearly a century of sediment in the debris field to seek a full inventory of the ship’s artifacts.
The expedition is a partnership between RMS Titanic Inc., which has exclusive salvage rights to the wreck, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. The expedition will not collect artifacts but is scheduled to probe a 2-by-3-mile (3-by-5-kilometer) debris field where hundreds of thousands of artifacts remain scattered.
Expedition officials say they intend to return to finish their work after a delay of a few days.
Since oceanographer Robert Ballard and an international team discovered the Titanic in 1985, most of the expeditions have either been to photograph the wreck or gather thousands of artifacts, like fine china, shoes and ship fittings. “Titanic” director James Cameron has also led teams to the wreck to record the bow and the stern, which separated during the sinking and now lie one-third of a mile apart.
RMS Titanic made the last expedition to site in 2004.