On Apr 10, 1912, the Titanic, of the White Star Line, Liverpool, sailed from Southampton with 2,228 passengers and crew on her maiden voyage to New York but on the late evening of Apr 14, the ship hit an iceberg and sank with the loss of 1,523 people. Just 705 survivors were picked up by the Cunard Line passenger ship Carpathia, 13,603grt.
The actual position of the wreck of the Titanic remained a mystery until September, 1985, when an expedition led by Dr Robert G Ballard, of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, of Woods Hole, Massachusetts, discovered it at 41.43N 49.56W.
Since then, the wreck has been visited by numerous people using special deepdiving mini-submarines and items have been removed from the wreck site, often going on display or being sold at auction.
Until now, the Titanic was not eligible for protection under the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage as the treaty only applies to remains submerged for at least 100 years. Apr 14 this year marked the 100th anniversary of the tragedy.
The UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova called on divers not to dump equipment or commemorative plaques on the Titanic site, which is located at a depth of 12,000ft off the coast of Newfoundland. Under the convention, no single state can claim the site because the wreck is in international waters. States only have jurisdiction over wrecks lying in their own waters and flying their flag.