Experts Raised Safety Concerns About OceanGate Titan in 2018

Share This
Image Source: iTech Post

Experts raised safety concerns about the submersible vessel that has been missing since Sunday when it descended with tourists on a deep ocean journey to view the wreckage of the Titanic. The pilot and four passengers are aboard, and the available oxygen in the vehicle has been forecast to run out by Thursday morning, according to a professor specializing in submarine operations.

The Marine Technology Society, a peer-review group that sets standards for submersible design, said it sent a letter to OceanGate in 2018 expressing concern the company needed to follow standard industry designs and protocols. Though the letter was never formally submitted, chairman William Kohnen told Reuters that he later discussed it with OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush and agreed to disagree.

According to court documents, another former OceanGate employee, the company’s director of marine operations at the time, also flagged potential problems with the Titan. David Lochridge, who the company has sacked for alleged misconduct, wrote an inspection report in which he stressed that the craft needed further testing and that passengers could be put at risk as it reached extreme depths. He urged the company to seek classification of the submersible, which it did not do. He demanded that it scan the hull to detect flaws instead of relying on acoustic monitoring, which can only identify problems milliseconds before an implosion.

He argued that the Titan would have required a larger carbon fiber hull than its predecessors, which were designed to be five inches thick. He also warned that the new vehicle may have a weak point at its base. Lochridge was sacked in a dispute over his work on the Titan, which was being built at the time of his complaints.

A lawsuit filed against the company by Lochridge claims that his warnings were ignored, and he was dismissed for leaking confidential information. The company denies the allegations.

If the Titan has indeed imploded, experts say it would take at least a week to recover it. The submersible is more than 13,000 feet deep in the North Atlantic, more than 900 miles from the nearest rescue ship. The occupants will likely run out of oxygen, experience hypothermia, and be trapped in debris such as fishing nets or fishing lines if they remain at the bottom for long.

Even if the occupants can reach the surface, they might be unable to move as they are tethered to their submersible by wires. They could also be crushed by falling rocks or caught in a tangled web of cables. Rescuers hope to find the craft using a remote-operated robot on an underwater cable. Alternatively, it could be towed to the surface, though that would require substantial power. The search for the Titan has included using an icebreaker and drones. In the meantime, divers will continue to probe the wreckage site and monitor the occupants’ air supply.

Greetings, dear readers! Welcome to the blog, a realm of words and ideas crafted to captivate and inspire. Today, we invite you to embark on a journey of discovery as we introduce ourself, the author behind the articles that grace this virtual abode.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.