• Monday, December 11, 2023


Missing Titanic submarine: All you need to know about the expedition

By: Pramod Thomas

A five-person submersible vessel taking wealthy adventurers on a over £195,000 trip to see the wreckage of the 1912 Titanic disaster 12,500 feet (3,800m) undersea is missing in the Atlantic off Canada.

It was missing for a third day on Tuesday (20) as US and Canadian ships and planes swept a huge area trying to find the vessel.

Those aboard the submersible called Titan included British billionaire Hamish Harding and Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood with his son Suleman.

Here is all you need to know about the Titanic expedition

  • The submarine belongs to OceanGate Expeditions, a company that provides crewed submersible services for exploration, industry and research purposes.
  • Based in Everett in Washington, OceanGate says it uses next generation crewed submersibles and launch platforms to increase deep ocean access as far as 4,000 metres.
  • Although popularly called a submarine, in marine terminology the “Titan” vessel carrying the five is a submersible. While a submarine can launch itself from a port independently, a submersible goes down off a support ship.
  • OceanGate’s expeditions to the Titanic depart from St. John’s, Newfoundland, to the wreck of the Titanic about 370 miles away.
  • The trips take eight days and each dive to the wreck and ascent to the surface reportedly takes roughly eight hours. The latest expedition to the Titanic is reportedly OceanGate’s fifth of the year.
  • OceanGate, which was founded in 2009 by Stockton Rush, has several custom-built submersibles including Titan, which was designed to reach depths of 13,123 feet necessary to visit the wreck of the Titanic, which lies at a depth of about 12,500 feet. The Titan utilizes SpaceX’s Starlink satellite communications system when at sea.
  • The submersible is designed to surface automatically if it encounters technical problems. OceanGate’s website says that the Titan has life support capabilities sufficient to sustain its five-person crew for 96 hours.
  • Aside from its trips to the Titanic, OceanGate’s website lists several expeditions that its submersibles have conducted in recent years.
  • It lists expeditions in spring 2022 and fall 2023 for its “Four Subs Project” – a mission to document the wrecks of four historic submarines in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Rhode Island, including one German U-boat from World War II.
  • OceanGate also lists expeditions to Hudson Canyon off the coast of New York City that interested tourists may inquire about.
  • “OceanGate has successfully completed over 14 expeditions and over 200 dives in the Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico,” its website says. “Following every mission, the team evaluates and updates the procedures as part of a continued commitment to evolve and ensure operational safety.”

(with inputs from Reuters)

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