Titan submersible from OceanGates. Was it safe?
OceanGate Expeditions, headquartered in Washington, is a privately-owned company
that specializes in providing chartered deep-sea exploration services for both scientific and commercial purposes.
While the company gained recognition for organizing deep-sea tourism trips, its notable ventures to the Titanic took place in 2021 and 2022. Since then, OceanGate has been conducting annual expeditions to the historic shipwreck to monitor its deterioration.
To explore the wreckage of the Titanic, the company employed its submersible, known as the Titan. However, the Titan submersible has been reported missing as of June 2023.
Here is what is known regarding the construction and testing of the Titan’s hull:
- In a 2018 report, David Lochridge, who was previously employed by OceanGate from 2016 to 2018, expressed concerns about the thickness of the Titan’s hull and the potential risks it posed to passengers during dives to extreme depths. Lochridge later claimed that he was wrongfully terminated after raising these concerns, as stated in a court filing.
- Experts have long criticized OceanGate for the safety of the Titan, including a lawsuit filed in 2018 in the U.S. District Court in Seattle, which argued that the choices made by OceanGate would expose passengers to significant dangers in an experimental submersible.
- The Marine Technology Society, a professional organization comprising ocean engineers, also warned OceanGate about these concerns in 2018. In response, OceanGate defended its reliance on acoustic tests, which it believed were better suited to identify safety issues.
The safety of the Titan submersible has been a matter of concern for a considerable period
with experts questioning its construction and safety measures. David Lochridge, a former employee of OceanGate, raised alarms about the thickness of the Titan’s hull and the potential hazards faced by passengers at extreme depths.
Additionally, OceanGate has faced criticism
from both experts and professional groups of ocean engineers regarding the safety of the Titan submersible. The company’s reliance on acoustic tests to identify safety issues has been called into question. The search for the missing Titan submersible is still ongoing, and the cause of its disappearance remains unclear.
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