The Titan Submersible, operated by OceanGate Expeditions has gone missing on a trip to the titanic wreck site. The Polar Prince was serving as mothership for the Expedition.
we know know that the submersible went missing 1 hour and 45 minutes into the dive. It takes around 2 hours to reach the titanic from the surface. dive preparations began around 4am Sunday morning, with the dive beginning at 6am, suggesting the submersible has been missing since 8am Sunday. the USCG indicated they were informed the submersible was missing Sunday afternoon. Word of the missing vessel got out around 10am AST Monday. The Titan submersible can support life for 96hours.
The Response is being co-ordinated by USCG NorthEast sector, based out of Boston. the USCG sent 2 c-130 aircraft to search the surface incase the submersible had surfaced. the 106th US Air national Guard also has c-130’s searching. the RCAF sent a C-130 to search, and a CP-140 Aurora was dispatched to deploy sonobouys to listen to for possible signs of the submersible. Polar Prince is equipped with sonar.
The CCGS Kolpit Hopson 1752 is on scene, the Horizon Arctic was initially dispatched, but has since turned back for St. John’s, replaced with the Skandi Vinland, equipped with an ROV.
the Titan Submersible is rated to 4000m (13123′) of depth. Its constructed of carbon fiber and titanium, and propelled by 4 innerspace 1002 electric thrusters. Titan is 23′ long, 9.2’wide, and 8.3’tall. it carries a pilot and crew of 4.
there are several possibilities as to what happened. the first possibility is an electrical issue, and the sub is unable to propel itself or surface. its possible the submersible is snagged on the wreck itself, and unable to move as a result. the last possibility is that the Titan suffered a structural failure, and was crushed.
Retired RN Rear Admiral Chris Parry indicated he has been contacted by a reliable informant who claims to have warned about structural issues in the Titan 5 weeks ago. Reporter David Pouge took a trip on Titan last year. That saw Titan go missing for several hours, though in that instance it was in communication with the mother ship. his stories are interesting, the sub is controlled by an xbox controller. Pouge indicates that Titan has several redundant systems to enable the submersible to surface, including air bladders and ballast. (Pouge’s report was for CBS, and it is available on Youtube, but not to Canada.
I have been maintaining a twitter thread on this story, continuously updated. This post will get updated, likely at the end of the day.
on Tuesday it was reported that knocking was heard by the CP-140 aircraft. ROV searches were adjusted to focus on the area where the knocking was detected.
The USAF flew three c-17’s of equipment to St Johns, and it was loaded aboard the Horizon Arctic. the Equipment includes a Pelagic ROV system, and the USN’s Fly Away Salvage system. Horizon Arctic Sailed for the site at 5 am Wednesday, its a 20 hour sail.
Also due tonight is the french research vessel L’Atalante. It’s operated by French research institute Ifremer, and was requested by the USN. The Victor 6000 is an autonomous robot, good to 6000m.
More stories about Ocean Gate Expeditions have been coming out. First were the details of lawsuits with a former employee who was fired after raising safety concerns, including that the porthole manufacturer would only certify it to 1300m and not 4000. Additional Stories are coming out about previous passengers who took a trip on the submersible.
the 96hours of life support runs out Thursday morning. that is likely not a hard deadline, but time is running out for a rescue.