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Might this be the end of pricey tourist dives to see the Titanic?

April 06, 2012|By Mary Forgione | Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
  • The Titanic, leaving Southampton, England, on April 10, 1912.
The Titanic, leaving Southampton, England, on April 10, 1912. (Associated Press )

Deep Ocean Expeditions offers the ultimate Titanic tour this summer: See the shipwreck firsthand from a tiny submersible during the 100th anniversary of its sinking. Despite the stiff $60,000 price tag, the Titanic dives became so popular among tourists that the company added a third trip.

Now expedition coordinator Rob McCallum tells National Geographic News that Titanic dives planned for July and August will be the company’s last. Deep Ocean holds the exclusive charter for Titanic dives.

"Our support ship is going into retirement soon, and the submersibles are going to go back into government work," he said in the story.

Robert Ballard, the deep-sea explorer whose team discovered the Titanic’s wreck on the ocean floor in 1985, has long been concerned about access to the ship, which sits 380 miles southeast of Newfoundland, Canada.

"The Titanic is really a deep-sea museum with the doors wide open," he says in a National Geographic TV show set to premiere 10 p.m. Monday. Ballard warned that if the shipwreck remains unprotected, "it will get stripped until all the jewels have been taken off the old lady’s body."

Even a century after more than 1,500 passengers and crew members perished, the Titanic continues to be a tourist feature at Titanic museums in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., and Branson, Mo., and exhibitions that circle the globe with artifacts from the "unsinkable" luxury liner.

The true anniversary of its sinking comes next week, a hundred years after it struck an iceberg on April 14, 1912, and sunk the next day. More than 1,500 passengers and crew members died on the cruise that had left Southampton, England, en route to New York City.

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