‘Cursed’ Titanic artefact ditched

AN American plagued with bad luck since he nicked a piece of the doomed Titanic’s hull threw the “cursed” metal into Cork Harbour yesterday.

As hundreds gathered in Belfast to commemorate the 97th anniversary of the sinking of the liner, Mike Gilpin, 49, from Boston, stood on the rain-lashed pier in Cobh in a desperate bid to end his unlucky streak.

Watched by a small crowed of curious onlookers, he flung the baseball-sized piece of the ship’s hull in to the harbour.

“I threw it as far as I could and it sank like a rock,” he said.

“I’m glad I made the trip to do it. It’s been in the planning for months.

“It’s come full circle now. Now it’s back in the water where it left from 97 years ago.”

Mike was so concerned with flying with the chunk, he posted it to his Irish pal, Will Lenihan, from Limerick, more than a month ago.

Mike acquired the piece while working as a docker on a pier in Boston in 2000 around the time a salvage vessel was landing pieces of the hull on shore. He took a chunk home and the bad luck started within weeks.

“I kept it in a jar but it’s brought nothing but bad luck,” he said.

“I’ve been divorced, I’ve lost my house, I crashed my truck and my motorcycle.

“Then I took the piece to my summer home in New Hampshire and it burned down. But the piece survived.”

He said he hoped yesterday’s little ceremony would end his streak of bad luck.

The friends drove back to Limerick last night vowing to play the Lotto in every village along the way to test if his luck has changed.

Yesterday was the 97th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.

Activities also took place in Belfast yesterday to pay tribute to those who died.

Wreaths were laid and a minutes’ silence was observed.

Belfast City Council’s ‘Titanic: Made In Belfast festival’, which includes talks, walks and boat trips, continues until April 19.

And an exhibition entitled ’Titanic: Designed And Built In Belfast, featuring photographs, many of them taken by R J Welch, the official photographer of Harland & Wolff, is on at the W5 in the Odyssey Pavilion.

Una Reilly, the chairperson and founding member of the Belfast Titanic Society, said: “The Titanic herself wasn’t a disaster — what happened to her was.

“The Titanic was a marvellous ship — the biggest manmade structure afloat when she was built. We should always be immensely proud of her and the men who built her.”

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