Until the Irish territorial limit was extended to twelve miles in 1982, the wreck lay in international waters and was thus claimed by the British Receiver of Wrecks since Liverpool was her home port.
It took a long time to locate the exact position of the wreck. The first diver to visit her was a man called Jim Jarrett who reached her once only in 1935. The wreck site was regularly depth-charged during WW2 to prevent German submarines hiding in her shadow. Salvage operations were carried out, from time to time, by the Admiralty from 1948 to 1955. This claim is met with standard denials.
In the 1960’s an American diver named John Light undertook a series of dives to the wreck using only basic scuba equipment. In 1982, Oceaneering International Limited (OCI), under contract to Gregg Bemis, who by this time was the undisputed legal owner of the wreck, undertook the first private salvage operations. Many large artefacts, such as the propeller which acts as a memorial to the Lusitania on the Mersey dockside at Liverpool, were retrieved from the depths during this expedition.
Dr Robert Ballard, in conjunction with National Geographic, dived, filmed and wrote a book on the wreck. In 2011, under Licence from the Irish National Monuments Service (NMS), Gregg Bemis undertook the most recent diving expedition, using the specialised Irish Lights vessel the Granuaile, with the aim of establishing, definitively, why such a magnificent vessel as the Lusitania sank in eighteen minutes. We understand that Gregg Bemis in planning some further expeditions in the coming years.