London, May 25 : A mission to find the lost ruins of the Titanic was actually a cover story for inspecting the wrecks of two Cold War nuclear submarines, the man who discovered the famous liner has revealed. Dr Bob Ballard, an oceanographer, has revealed that he had to locate and inspect the remains of the vessels, which sank during the 1960s, in a top secret mission for the US navy before he was allowed to look for the Titanic.
"I couldn't tell anybody. There was a lot of pressure on me. It was a secret mission. I felt it was a fair exchange for getting a chance to look for the Titanic," the Telegraph quoted him, as saying.
"We handed the data to the experts. They never told us what they concluded - our job was to collect the data. I can only talk about it now because it has been declassified," he added.
The United States Navy lost two submarines during the 1960s - the USS Thresher and USS Scorpion - which had more than 200 men on board.
Officials feared at least one of them had been sunk by the USSR.
Dr Ballard approached the US Navy in 1982 for funding to hunt down the enormous ship with a robotic submarine craft he had developed.
He was told that the military were not prepared to spend large sums of money on locating the liner, but they did want to know what had happened to the submarines.
Officials were worried to find out how the nuclear reactors had fared after being under water for so long.
Dr Ballard was given funding to find the two submarines and it was only once these missions were completed that the oceanographer located the wreck of the Titanic in 1985, which sank in 1912 after it hit an iceberg with the loss of 1,500 lives.