Titanic Memorial Cruise is finished as Balmoral ship has arrived in New York, after completing its journey to mark the centenary of the Titanic disaster.
The ship left Southampton on 8 April, and traced the route of Titanic’s tragic maiden voyage.
The MS Balmoral held a ceremony above the wreck on 15 April, exactly 100 years after the Titanic sank.
Many of those on board the memorial cruise had connections to the 1,500 people who lost their lives on Titanic.
Paying passengers from 28 countries had booked tickets for the cruise, many years in advance.
Balmoral cruise ship has arrived in New York after completing its journey to mark the centenary of the Titanic disaster
The organizers had tried to recreate many aspects of the famous ship’s original journey.
This included a stop at the Irish port of Cobh, which was known as Queenstown when Titanic called there in April 1912.
Some of the passengers dressed up in period costume during their 12-day journey, and the MS Balmoral’s menu included dishes inspired by those served on board the Titanic
Relatives of victims of the Titanic today threw roses off the Southampton dockside in memory of their loved ones during a moving 100th anniversary memorial service.
A minute’s silence was also held today in remembrance of the 1517 passengers and crew who lost their lives on the famous liner’s ill-dated maiden voyage.
The south coast city has special reason to mark the Titanic disaster, as 538 of the 714 crew who died on the ship hailed from Southampton.
At the time it was said that almost every person in the city was either related to or knew someone who died.
Events began just before midday when nine wreaths were thrown into the Ocean Docks at Southampton, Hants, where most of the crew had lived.
Relatives of victims of the Titanic threw roses off the Southampton dockside in a moving 100th anniversary memorial service
The minute’s silence was concluded by a haunting recording of the Titanic’s whistle which was sounded three times around the port.
Every vessel in the port then proceeded to sound their whistles in sombre acknowledgement.
Shortly after, a re-enactment of the ship’s departure from berth 44 at Ocean Dock on April 10, 1912, was staged.
A flotilla of craft followed the tug tender Calshot, which was built in the same era as the legendary liner, as it sailed towards the Solent.
Guests were then invited to throw their own rose off the dockside in memory of loved ones who lost their lives.
One of many to throw a rose into the water at the dock was Alan Stote, who was paying respects to his great uncle Thomas Instance.
Pensioner Alan Stote, 76, from Totton near Southampton, Hampshire, said: “My grandfather’s brother was only 31 when he lost his life.
“He was a fireman aboard the Titanic. Although very upsetting, today’s event was well organized and very professional.
“I feel lucky to have been able to be a part of the day and pay my respects.”
The Titanic disaster has been revealed in extraordinary detailed images after researchers have pieced together what is believed to be the first comprehensive map of the entire 3-by-5-mile Titanic debris field.
Researchers hope it will provide new clues about what exactly happened on that fateful night 100 years ago when the superliner hit an iceberg and plunged to the bottom of the North Atlantic, killing more than 1,500 people.
An expedition team used sonar imaging and more than 100,000 photos taken from underwater robots to create the map, which shows where hundreds of objects and pieces of the presumed-unsinkable vessel landed.
Marks on the muddy ocean bottom suggest that the stern rotated like a helicopter blade as the ship sank, rather than plunging straight down.
Explorers of the Titanic – which sank on its maiden voyage from Southampton, England, to New York City – have known for more than 25 years where the bow and stern landed after the vessel struck an iceberg.
But previous maps of the floor around the wreckage were incomplete, said Parks Stephenson, a Titanic historian who consulted on the 2010 expedition. Studying the site with old maps was like trying to navigate a dark room with a weak flashlight.
“With the sonar map, it’s like suddenly the entire room lit up and you can go from room to room with a magnifying glass and document it,” Parks Stephenson said.
“Nothing like this has ever been done for the Titanic site.”
Researchers have pieced together what is believed to be the first comprehensive map of the entire 3-by-5-mile Titanic debris field
The mapping took place in the summer of 2010 during an expedition to the Titanic led by RMS Titanic Inc., the legal custodian of the wreck, along with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Falmouth, Massachusetts, and the Waitt Institute of La Jolla, California.
They were joined by the cable History channel and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the National Park Service is also involved in the mapping.
Details on the new findings at the bottom of the ocean are not being revealed yet, but the network will air them in a two-hour documentary on April 15, exactly 100 years after the Titanic sank.
The expedition team ran two independently self-controlled robots known as autonomous underwater vehicles along the ocean bottom day and night.
The torpedo-shaped AUV’s surveyed the site with side-scan sonar, moving at a little more than three miles per hour as they traversed back and forth in a grid along the bottom.
The AUV’s also took high-resolution photos – 130,000 of them in all – of a smaller 2-by-3-mile area where most of the debris was concentrated.
The images were stitched together on a computer to provide a detailed photo mosaic of the debris.
The result is a map that looks something like the moon’s surface showing debris scattered across the ocean floor well beyond the large bow and stern sections that rest about half a mile apart.
The map provides a forensic tool with which scientists can examine the wreck site much the way an airplane wreck would be investigated on land.
For instance, the evidence that the stern rotated is based on the marks on the ocean floor to its west and the fact that virtually all the debris is found to the east.
“When you look at the sonar map, you can see exactly what happened,” said Paul-Henry Nargeolet, the expedition’s co-leader with RMS Titanic.
Titanic sank 100 years ago on its maiden voyage from Southampton, England, to New York City after the vessel struck an iceberg
The first mapping of the Titanic wreck site began after it was discovered in 1985, using photos taken with cameras aboard a remotely controlled vehicle that didn’t venture far from the bow and stern.
The mapping over the years has improved as explorers have built upon previous efforts in piecemeal fashion, said Charlie Pellegrino, a Titanic explorer who was not involved in the 2010 expedition.
But this is the first time a map of the entire debris field has looked at every square inch in an orderly approach, he said.
“This is quite a significant map,” Charlie Pellegrino said.
“It’s quite a significant advance in the technology and the way it’s done.”
At Lone Wolf Documentary Group in South Portland, producers are putting the final touches on the History documentary. Rushmore DeNooyer, the co-producer and writer of the show, points out the different items on the map, displayed on a screen.
They include a huge tangle of the remains of a deckhouse; a large chunk of the side of the ship measuring more than 60 feet long and weighing more than 40 tons; pieces of the ship’s bottom; and a hatch cover that blew off of the bow section as it crashed to the bottom.
Other items include five of the ship’s huge boilers, a revolving door and even a lightning rod from a mast.
By examining the debris, investigators can now answer questions like how the ship broke apart, how it went down and whether there was a fatal flaw in the design, he said.
The layout of the wreck site and where the pieces landed provide new clues on exactly what happened. Computer simulations will re-enact the sinking in reverse, bringing the wreckage debris back to the surface and reassembled.
Some of those questions will be answered on the show, said Dirk Hoogstra, a senior vice president at History. He declined to say ahead of the show what new theories are being put forth on the sinking.
“We’ve got this vision of the entire wreck that no one has ever seen before,” Dirk Hoogstra said.
“Because we have, we’re going to be able to reconstruct exactly how the wreck happened. It’s groundbreaking, jaw-dropping stuff.”