Raising Titanic's Big Piece: 25 Years Later

Summer 2023 marks the 25th Anniversary of the recovery of the Big Piece—a remarkable undertaking that lifted the most significant fragment of the Titanic from its 12,500 feet deep wreck site. EverGreene’s Joe Sembrat spearheaded and led the conservation efforts, including the raising, conservation, and mounting of the 17-ton hull fragment and many of the artifacts recovered during eight research and recovery expeditions conducted between 1987 and 2010.

The story of the Titanic has captured so many for more than a century. Conserving and exhibiting artifacts from the Titanic preserves the memory of the people who perished in the disaster and also the physical memory of the ship. These recovery efforts have allowed people all over the world the opportunity to see three-dimensional objects that bare witness to the sinking and to gain new insights into the human dimensions of the tragedy.

On Sunday, 14 April 1912 at 11:40pm, the R.M.S. Titanic struck an iceberg. By 2:20am on Monday, 15 April, the Titanic sank into the cold Atlantic Ocean, taking with it the lives of more than 1,500 of its 2,240 passengers and crew. The remaining pieces of the Titanic presently rest 12,460 feet (2. 5 miles) below the surface of the North Atlantic Ocean, 450 miles southeast of Newfoundland. The bow and stern are separated by 2,000 feet. Contents were scattered across a vast debris field. 

Joseph Sembrat during conservation maintenance of the Big Piece at the Titanic Exhibit in Las Vegas.