The Law of the RMS Titanic with Ole Varmer: To Preserve or Exploit

The legal battle over Titanic rages on even today.

On this episode, Peter Ravella and Tyler Buckingham are joined by Ole Varmer, the recently retired NOAA attorney who garnered the nickname and reputation as the governments "shipwreck guy" for specializing in the law governing the historic preservation and salvage of shipwrecks. On this show, we explore the particular case of the RMS Titanic, a wreck with such popular interest that it has caught the eye of the private sector for the salvage of elements of the ship and its debris. Ole played a leading role in the multi-lateral negotiation of the International Agreement on Titanic, implementing Guidelines, and legislation. We discuss the fascinating legal structures that govern activities on and under the high seas, and discuss what future the wreck of the Titanic and other culturally significant shipwrecks might hold.

Peter Ravella & Tyler Buckingham

Peter and Tyler joined forces in 2015 and from the first meeting began discussing a project that would become Coastal News Today and the American Shoreline Podcast Network. At the time, Peter and Tyler were coastal consultants for Pete’s firm, PAR Consulting, LLC. In that role, they worked with coastal communities in Texas, Florida, and North Carolina, engaged in grant writing, coastal project development, shoreline erosion and land use planning, permitting, and financial planning for communities undertaking big beach restoration projects. Between and among their consulting tasks, they kept talking and kept building the idea of CNT & ASPN. In almost every arena they worked, public engagement played a central role. They spent thousands of hours talking with coastal stakeholders, like business owners, hotel operators, condo managers, watermen, property owners, enviros, surfers, and fishermen. They dived deep into the value, meaning, and responsibility for the American shoreline, segment-by-segment. Common threads emerged, themes were revealed, differences uncovered. There was a big conversation going on along the American shoreline! But, no place to have it. That's where CNT and ASPN were born.