What in the world does Virginia have to do with the Titanic?

The famous ship hit an iceberg and sank 400 miles off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada.

Well, a federal district court in Norfolk has jurisdiction over a salvage agreement governing what can be taken from the wreck.

U.S. District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith recently agreed that the Marconi wireless telegraph that broadcast the ship’s distress signals can be removed from the decaying wreck. The Titanic went down in 1912.

RMS Titanic Inc. is the recognized salvager, and steward, of Titanic artifacts. The company is owned by Premier Exhibitions Inc., Atlanta.

Judge Smith said that the telegraph was of historic and cultural significance and should be retrieved.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, however, argued against the move, suggesting that retrieval operations could disturb the remains of some of the more than 1,500 people who died in the tragedy.

And all this legal drama went on in a Virginia courtroom earlier this week. Virginia is a richly historic state, but we never imagined that the history of the Titanic could surface in our commonwealth.

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