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Episodio #101: L'equipaggiamento radio del Titanic potrebbe venir perso per sempre

A museum reconstruction of the Titanic's radio room Source: AP

Uno dei reperti radio più storici al mondo rischia di sparire per sempre. Una compagnia che si occupa di recuperi ha reso noto che il telegrafo senza fili Marconi del Titanic si trova in una parte del relitto affondato che sta per precipitare.

SCARICA la trascrizione col testo a fronte in inglese.  

Italian

Alle 23.40 della tranquilla e fredda notte del 14 aprile 1912, a 645 chilometri dalla costa di Terranova, il lussuoso RMS Titanic si scontrò con un iceberg, provocando un varco fatale nella chiglia della nuovissima nave.

Il transatlantico inviò segnali di soccorso usando il relativamente nuovo sistema radio Marconi. 

FX Morse code. "Mr Dean! Sir! There's a distress call just come through!"

"Who from?"
"The Titanic! They've struck a 'berg! They want us to come at once - they're sinking!"

"The Titanic? Don't be a fool!"

''It's true! I'm going to the Captain"

Così il film del 1958 'A Night To Remember' ricostruisce il messaggio del Titanic ricevuto dalla Carpathia, un'altra nave passeggeri che si trovava nelle vicinanze - e la prima a rispondere al segnale di soccorso. 

I messaggi radio vennero poi ricevuti da altre imbarcazioni e da una stazione ricevente sulla costa. 

La nave affondò in meno di tre ore, con la perdita di tutti tranne 700 dei 2.208 passeggeri ed equipaggio. 

Una squadra internazionale, guidata dall'oceanografo Robert Ballard, scoprì il relitto nel 1985 nel fondale marino dell’Atlantico del nord. 

Una compagnia di recupero - chiamata anch'essa RMS Titanic - ha recuperato più di 5.000 artefatti dal sito del relitto. 

Il presidente della compagnia, Bretton Hunchak, ha dichiarato che la trasmittente originale - ancora a bordo del relitto affondato - corre il rischio di essere persa per sempre a causa della sua posizione. 

"The roof has degraded significantly and the wreck is essentially collapsing in upon itself. So, we're at a point where the Marconi is really in a detrimental area where we believe in a short period of time it will fall in upon itself, leaving the Marconi sort of to be lost to the sea floor. It's not an exact science, but given the time series analysis and the most recent expedition in 2019, we found that it really is sort of at that point." 

Gli avvocati della compagnia hanno convocato il mese scorso testimoni davanti ad un giudice federale per spiegare perché dovrebbe venire dato il permesso di sezionare la nave che si sta deteriorando e recuperare il telegrafo senza fili di Marconi, prima che sia irrimediabilmente perduto. 

La compagnia gestisce una collezione di migliaia di oggetti recuperati dal sito negli anni, in qualità di sovrintendente degli artefatti riconosciuta dal tribunale. 

Hunchak ha dichiarato che l'equipaggiamento radio era la voce del Titanic, che ha inviato il suo ultimo messaggio che ha salvato 700 vite. 

"I believe that bringing a tangible part of Titanic to the masses, as opposed to just the few people that get to go see it, really makes that story real for them. I also think it's an interesting story in that it's the reason there are survivors and that they went on to do great things. It's the reason that their families are here. And it's also the reason why some people are so passionate about the story. So, it's a human-interest piece. It's an incredible piece of technology, especially for its day. And it's the reason that I think the legacy of Titanic still exists in the strength that it does." 

L’apparecchiatura si trova in una stanza sul ponte della nave. 

Una palestra dall'altro lato della grande scalinata è già crollata. 

Il tetto sopra il telegrafo ha cominciato a perdere. 

Hunchak ha dichiarato che più di 30 milioni di persone hanno visitato le mostre degli oggetti recuperati dal sito dove giace il relitto. 

Alexandra Klingelhofer, la direttrice delle collezioni della compagnia, sostiene che gli oggetti recuperati aiutano a raccontare le storie di chi ha perso la vita nel disastro. 

"I guess my goal has always been to try and put a character or something together for every person whose name is on the memorial list, because that just seems to make it more than a name. It's not just a name. It was someone. And so, we want to try and tell that story as much as possible." 

La compagnia sta però incontrando la resistenza della US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, che rappresenta l’interesse pubblico nel sito del naufragio. 

A suo parere, la proposta operazione di recupero contraddice le precedenti sentenze del tribunale, che impediscono alla compagnia di praticare buchi e prelevare oggetti dal relitto. 

E ci sono opinioni contrastanti anche al di là dell'oceano, a Belfast, dove il Titanic venne costruito. 

Il parlamentare locale Gavin Robinson: 

"I don't think it adds anything to the understanding of the wreckage, the history of Titanic, the huge feat that it was in constructing the vessel here in Belfast, where the huge tragedy associated with the ship's loss. We will learn nothing new. There are other Marconi radios just exactly the same that are present in other museums and available throughout the world. You can learn and understand without the need to go in and wreck and destroy."

La giudice statunitense incaricata di prendere una decisione ha dichiarato che terrà un'ulteriore udienza in futuro. 

English

At 11.40 pm on the still, cold night of April 14th 1912, 645 kilometres off the coast of Newfoundland, the luxurious RMS Titanic hit an iceberg, fatally ripping a hole in the brand new ship's hull. 

The liner sent out distress signals using the relatively new Marconi wireless radio system. 

FX Morse code. "Mr Dean! Sir! There's a distress call just come through!"

"Who from?"
"The Titanic! They've struck a 'berg! They want us to come at once - they're sinking!"

"The Titanic? Don't be a fool!"

''It's true! I'm going to the Captain" 

That's how the 1958 movie, 'A Night To Remember' reconstructed the message from the Titanic being received aboard the Carpathia, another passenger vessel nearby - and the first to respond to the distress call. 

The radio messages were picked up by other vessels and by receiving stations on shore. 

The ship sank in less than three hours, with the loss of all but 700 of the 2,208 passengers and crew. 

An international team, led by oceanographer Robert Ballard, located the wreckage in 1985 on the North Atlantic seabed. 

A salvage firm - also called RMS Titanic -  has recovered more than 5,000 artefacts from the wreck site. 

The company's president, Bretton Hunchak, says the original transmitter - still aboard the sunken wreck - is in danger of being lost forever because of where it is. 

"The roof has degraded significantly and the wreck is essentially collapsing in upon itself. So, we're at a point where the Marconi is really in a detrimental area where we believe in a short period of time it will fall in upon itself, leaving the Marconi sort of to be lost to the sea floor. It's not an exact science, but given the time series analysis and the most recent expedition in 2019, we found that it really is sort of at that point." 

Lawyers for the company called witnesses before a federal judge last month ((February 2020)) to explain why it should be allowed to cut into the deteriorating ship and recover its Marconi wireless telegraph machine, before it's irretrievably lost. 

The company oversees a collection of thousands of items recovered from the site over the years as the court-recognised steward of the artefacts. 

Mr Hunchak says the radio equipment was the voice of the Titanic, sending out its last message which saved 700 lives. 

"I believe that bringing a tangible part of Titanic to the masses, as opposed to just the few people that get to go see it, really makes that story real for them. I also think it's an interesting story in that it's the reason there are survivors and that they went on to do great things. It's the reason that their families are here. And it's also the reason why some people are so passionate about the story. So, it's a human-interest piece. It's an incredible piece of technology, especially for its day. And it's the reason that I think the legacy of Titanic still exists in the strength that it does." 

The device is located in a room on the ship's deck. 

A gymnasium on the other side of the grand staircase has already collapsed.  

The roof above the telegraph machine has begun to perforate. 

Mr Hunchak says over 30 million people have visited exhibits of artefacts they have recovered from the wreck site. 

Alexandra Klingelhofer, the company's executive director for collections, says the recovered artefacts help tell the stories of those that perished in the disaster. 

"I guess my goal has always been to try and put a character or something together for every person whose name is on the memorial list, because that just seems to make it more than a name. It's not just a name. It was someone. And so, we want to try and tell that story as much as possible." 

The company is already facing resistance from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which represents the public's interest in the wreck site. 

It says the proposed retrieval runs contrary to prior court orders that prohibit the firm from cutting holes or taking items from the wreck. 

And across the Atlantic in Belfast, where the Titanic was built, there is also opposition. 

Local MP Gavin Robinson: 

"I don't think it adds anything to the understanding of the wreckage, the history of Titanic, the huge feat that it was in constructing the vessel here in Belfast, where the huge tragedy associated with the ship's loss. We will learn nothing new. There are other Marconi radios just exactly the same that are present in other museums and available throughout the world. You can learn and understand without the need to go in and wreck and destroy." 

The US judge who has to make a decision on the matter says she will schedule another hearing in the future. 

Report by Alan Lee

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