#Lusitania - The owner of the Lusitania may get his wish for a return dive to the wreck of the ill-fated passenger liner after the Minister for Heritage endorsed plans for a fresh investigation into its sinking.
The Irish Times reports that Minister Jimmy Deenihan has "agreed to a broad set of exploration objectives" with Gregg Bemis, the American millionaire businessman who has had had a financial interest in the wreck since 1968, and sole ownership since 1982.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Bemis had been seeking permission from the Government since last September after disputing the findings of a documentary made during an expedition to the wreck in the summer of 2011.
The cruise liner - a rival of the Titanic in its day - was hit by a torpedo from a German U-boat off the Old Head of Kinsale on 7 May 1915, during the First World War, sinking in just 20 minutes and taking 1,198 lives.
However, there have long been accounts of a second explosion on the sinking vessel before it was submerged - leading some to believe that it was carrying Allied munitions in its cargo.
Bemis staged his previous expedition in a bid to discover once and for all what really happened to the Lusitania. But last year he said that the National Geographic documentary team behind 'Dark Secrets of the Lusitania' used "insufficient data" to conclude that the second explosion was from a boiler in the bowels of the ship.
The businessman's ambitions had also been thwarted by a long-running dispute with Leinster House over the State's heritage rights to the wreck site and the effect of exploration on its condition.
Minister Deenihan is reviewing a new licence application that would involve numerous dives to the wreck over the next three years, including the centenary year of the Lusitania's demise in 2015.
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.