For the past 65 years, treasure hunters have dreamed of getting at the treasure that went down with the liner Titanic when it sank on its maiden voyage in 1912.
GV: ocean liner Titanic preparing to sail on maiden voyage from Southampton, UK, in 1912.
SV: passengers waving farewell.
SV: life-boats on board and captain on bridge.
SVs: Icebergs at seat with pieces breaking away. (5 shots)
CU: financier Thomas Gfroerer speaking in West Berlin. (in English)
AERIAL VIEW:icebergs and ship sailing into arctic waters with Gfroerer speaking over. (5 shots)
SV ZOOM INTO CU Gfoerer and colleague studying map, with Gfroerer speaking over.
SV: Gfoerer speaking
GEROERER:"We believe that the Titanic carried 29 shipments of jewels from Europe to the United States in 1912. And we believe it is today worth 500 million German Marks. I start to get in this whole project and I talk to people who understand about raising, and I talked to raising firms, and step by step it came out that it was not possible to raise the whole ship but what is possible is to raise a part of it. And that's what we want to do. The whole operation in two phases done, in two steps. The first is to search the Titanic. To locate her and to look in which condition the ship lies down on the ocean bed. And that is the first, the normal risk that we have to have. It costs about 12 to 15 percent of the investing amount of 50 million Deutschmark and after this location has been done there will be the decision of the raising firm if the whole project is possible. If they say it is not possible to do it in this case as the ship is lying now, we break up the whole operation and everybody who has invested money gets 80 to 85 percent of his money at once back."
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Background: For the past 65 years, treasure hunters have dreamed of getting at the treasure that went down with the liner Titanic when it sank on its maiden voyage in 1912. But the ship is in 10,000 feet (3,050 metres) of water and the immense cost of salvaging it has deterred even the most wealthy promoters. However, three West Berlin financiers have come up with the idea of leaving the Titanic where it is, and merely taking the treasure from it. The ship was reported to be carrying jewellery and precious stones, which, at today's values, would be worth about five million pounds sterling (about eight million US dollars).
SYNOPSIS: The Titanic was the largest and most luxurious liner afloat when it left the British port of Southampton for New York in April 1912. It had a double-bottomed hull divided into 16 watertight compartments, and was called 'the unsinkable ship'. But it collided with an iceberg. A 300 foot (about 91.5 metres) gash was ripped in the liner's side, rupturing five of its watertight tanks, and the ship sank in two hours with the loss of several hundred lives. However Thomas Gfroerer, one of the West Berlin financiers, thinks a partial salvage operation is possible-and worthwhile.
Herr Gfroerer is in partnership with Herr Joerg Woltermann and Herr Joerg Sommerfeld Most of the finance for the project will come from the West German money market. The international laws concerning ownership of salvage goods are very complex. But the three West Berliners are confident that if they can raise the strongroom, they shouldn't have too much trouble in laying claim to any jewellery or precious stones.