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British museums make joint bid to bring home artefacts of Titanic

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-07-25 19:53

LONDON - A 15-million-pound bid to buy a collection of more than 5,500 artefacts from the Titanic wreck site and bring them to Britain has been launched by British museums, it was reported Wednesday.

Four British museums and charities, including the National Maritime Museum, Titanic Belfast, the Titanic Foundation and National Museums of Northern Ireland, have teamed up to launch the Titanic Artefacts Collection campaign in Belfast on Tuesday.

Objects recovered from the north Atlantic seabed over decades of deepsea diving expeditions to the wreck include personal possessions, parts of the ocean liner that sank on its maiden voyage in 1912, its furnishings and items from the first-class cabins.

The US company Premier Exhibitions, which currently owns the items, had filed for bankruptcy protection in June 2016 and then sought permission to sell off the Titanic collections.

Kevin Fewster, director of the National Maritime Museum, said: "When I heard the news of the owner's bankruptcy I felt it was our duty to try to save the collection as a whole...Alongside our partners we will ensure the collection is protected and preserved for generations to come."

The campaign has the backing of the Titanic film director James Cameron, and former US naval commander Bob Ballard, who discovered the wreck of Titanic in 1985.

Cameron said in a video sent to the campaign launch ceremony: "The sinking of the Titanic was a heart-breaking moment in history. Securing the irreplaceable collection of artefacts -- protecting and preserving them for future generations by placing them in the public trust -- is a unique and important opportunity to honour the 1,503 passengers and crew who died."

Titanic was a British passenger liner that sank in the North Atlantic Ocean in the early hours of April 15, 1912, after colliding with an iceberg during its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City. There were an estimated over 2,200 passengers and crew aboard, and more than 1,500 died.

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