Titanic Sub Implosion: Was the Deep Ocean Vehicle Safe?


June 23. The implosion of a submersible touring the deep-sea wreckage of the Titanic, killing all five passengers on board, has prompted questions about the regulations overseeing such voyages — and whether the vehicle itself was safe.

On Friday, the company responsible for the tour, OceanGate Expeditions, defended the decisions of its chief executive Stockton Rush, who died on board the submersible.

“Stockton was one of the most astute risk managers I’d ever met. He was very risk-averse,” Guillermo Söhnlein, OceanGate’s co-founder, told the news agency Reuters. “He was very committed to safety.”

But in the days since the submersible first went missing, passengers have come forward to share their stories of glitches and mishaps on expeditions to the ocean floor.

James Cameron — director of the film Titanic and himself a deep-sea researcher — was more unequivocal in his criticism. In an interview with ABC News, he denounced the carbon-fibre construction of the Titan as “fundamentally flawed”.

“Many people in the community were very concerned about this sub,” Cameron said.

“And a number of the top players in the deep-submergence engineering community even wrote letters to the company saying that what they were doing was too experimental to carry passengers and it needed to be certified and so on.”

In the wake of the submersible’s initial disappearance, the magazine The New Republic reported on documents from a 2018 breach-of-contract case, wherein OceanGate sued a former employee for disclosing private information.

However, the employee, David Lochridge, said he was acting as a whistleblower to ensure the safety of OceanGate passengers and employees. In a counterclaim, Lochridge cited structural concerns, including “large tears of the carbon” from “constant pressure cycling”.

Source: Aljazeera

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