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State Rules Hindering Lusitania Return Dive Says Wreck Owner

8th April 2015
State Rules Hindering Lusitania Return Dive Says Wreck Owner

#Lusitania100 - The multi-millionaire businessman owner of the Lusitania wreck claims the State has left the site vulnerable to treasure hunters while preventing his own return dive to recover artefacts.

As RTÉ News reports, Gregg Bemis described as "spiteful" the strict rules imposed on his planned return to the wreck to retrieve objects of value and historical importance.

He also aims to disprove the findings of a 2012 documentary on the fate of the Cunard liner that was torpedoed by a German U-boat off the Old Head of Kinsale on 7 May 1915 – which claimed a second explosion on the ship reported at the time came from a boiler in the vessel's bowels, and not from its alleged munitions cargo.

But Bemis says Government officials "are so glib and innocent sounding like they walk on water, but they add all these restrictions on and throw them at me so they interfere and impede."

That's despite securing the endorsement from then Heritage Minister Jimmy Deenihan for a return dive two years ago.

What's more, Bemis' previous dive team leader Eoin McGarry fears the wreck site may already have fallen victim to pirates seeking artefacts such as the ship's steam whistle and the captain's personal safe.

However, a statement from the Government said the conditions of Bemis' licence "are no more onerous than is absolutely necessary to protect a wreck of this global significance."

The controversy comes as Cork prepares to recognise the centenary of the Lusitania disaster, already the subject of a museum exhibition in Liverpool.

RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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