One of the telegraph machines from the Lusitania has been recovered from the ocean floor off the Cork coast.
By Conall Ó Fátharta, Irish Examiner
Diver Eoin McGarry, working under licence from Heritage Minister Heather Humphreys, raised the telegraph from the seabed on Saturday morning. Mr McGarry has dived on the wreck of the RMS Lusitania for over 15 years — more than anyone else alive.
The wreck of the ship, which was sunk by a torpedo from a German U-boat off the Head of Kinsale in 1915 is owned by Greg Bemis.
The US multimillionaire venture capitalist bought the wreck in 1968. When the state challenged his ownership, Bemis mounted a legal battle to assert his rights. It took a decade, but he won. Estimates have put the cost to the Irish taxpayer of the State’s action at almost €1m.
Once it was struck by the torpedo a century ago, the vessel sank within minutes and plunged 90m to the bottom of the Atlantic. Almost 1,200 people lost their lives in the sinking, including around 140 Irish people.
The Lusitania sank 18 minutes after being struck — compared to two hours and 40 minutes for the Titanic — sparking theories over a second explosion caused by a secret cargo of high explosives destined for the British war effort.
Mr Bennis expressed his gratitude to the team for the discovery which was made despite difficult weather conditions. “I would like to congratulate Mr McGarry and his team for their diligence and success in very difficult recovery efforts, made all the more difficult by weather, tides, and lack of visibility at 90 plus meters,” he said.
Ms Humphreys said the artefact would be conserved and displayed locally.
“It is great news that the telegraph was safely on shore and will now be conserved by Mr Bemis, who hopes to place the artefacts recovered from the Lusitania on display locally, which of course would be of great benefit to the people of Kinsale,” she said.