By Stacey Leasca
August 22, 2019
Courtesy of Atlantic Productions

For the first time in 14 years humans paid a visit to the wreckage site of the RMS Titanic. The massive ship still sits in its final resting place at the bottom of the icy Atlantic Ocean, some 3,800 meters below the surface. And, according to those on the recent dive, their findings amid the ship’s remains were “shocking.”

An exploration team from Triton Submarines made their way to Newfoundland, Canada for a series of five dives to visit the ship. The team captured their journey with adapted 4k video cameras, giving a high-definition view of the ship. The footage, CNN reported, will be used in a new documentary made by Atlantic Productions. Though the footage is stunning, the divers explained in a statement that the erosion and decomposition of the ship was nothing short of astonishing.

“The most fascinating aspect was seeing how the Titanic is being consumed by the ocean and returning to its elemental form while providing refuge for a remarkably diverse number of animals,” Triton Submarines President and Co-Founder Patrick Lahey said of the dives.

According to Triton, this rapid structural decline may be due to the “bitterly cold 1°C water” along with the “ever-changing sea currents.” It added, salt corrosion, metal-eating bacteria, and deep current action are having the “greatest impact on the wreck.”

“The future of the wreck is going to continue to deteriorate over time, it’s a natural process," Expedition scientist Lori Johnson told USA Today. "These are natural types of bacteria, so the reason that the deterioration process ends up being quite a bit faster, is a group of bacteria, a community working symbiotically to eat, if you will, the iron and the sulphur.”

Parks Stephenson, a Titanic historian, told the BBC, the footage he previewed of the dive was "shocking” decay.

"The captain's bathtub is a favourite image among Titanic enthusiasts - and that's now gone," he said. "That whole deck house on that side is collapsing, taking with it the state rooms. And that deterioration is going to continue advancing." He added, “Titanic is returning to nature.”

The explorers didn’t leave the site without paying homage to the 1,500 people who died when the ship hit an iceberg and sank to the ocean floor in 1912. The team noted in their statement, they laid a wreath and had a small ceremony to honor the victims before departing to leave the ship silent once again.