In a devastating turn of events, five men died during an underwater submersible excursion. Who thought just an excursion would lead to the loss of lives? Among the victims were British-based Pakistani tycoon Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman.
The son was a university student. He was passionate about science fiction and literature and sports.
The incident occurred when the tourist submarine, Titan, lost communication with its support vessel. This support vessel was a Canadian research icebreaker, Polar Prince. An ROV found the wreckage of Titan on the ocean floor. It was near the infamous wreck of the Titanic liner. It sent shock waves throughout the industry. This started raising concerns about underwater exploration missions’ safety.
But guess what happened about the safety concerns?
CEO Of OceanGate Dismissed Safety Concerns
OceanGate Expeditions CEO Stockton Rush dismissed safety concerns before the expedition. This incident sparked outrage. It further prompted a deeper examination of how authorities enforce safety protocols in underwater exploration.
Tributes To The Five Men
In the wake of this tragedy, tributes continue to pour in for the five deceased men. Mr. Dawood’s family remembers him as a “loving father.” They call him a “passionate advocate for sustainability, diversity, and social impact.”
In contrast, people remember Suleman as someone who loved science fiction literature. He was into playing volleyball and solving Rubik’s cubes.
The other three victims were French submersible pilot Paul-Henry Nargeolet, OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, and British billionaire Hamish Harding. People knew Hamish for his involvement in businesses and organizations. He was also involved in Space Perspective, which offers affordable tourist flights to space.
Role Of Experts In Piecing Together The Evidence
Investigations into the tragic incident are underway. Experts are trying to identify what led to the submarine breaking apart 3,500 meters below the surface. Authorities believe that the sub may have been too heavy. This excessive weight might have led to stress on the vehicle and, ultimately, its implosion.
The cause of the Titan’s sub-implosion is still unknown.
However, experts suggest the vessel’s hull may not have withstood the immense water pressure. This theory is supported by evidence from previous deep-sea missions. These missions showed cracks and stress on the sub’s structure.
Furthermore, the vehicle’s heavy design may have worsened these issues. This would have led to its failure and the tragic deaths of its occupants.
Normally, how far we go beneath the ocean depends on the pressure. For 33 feet of water depth, the pressure increases by 8 ATM. Similarly, for 12000 feet, the pressure number is 363 ATM.
If spoken in layman’s terms, the pressure faced by a man on which 2850 African elephants are placed one over the other would be the same as the pressure faced by the submersible. Because of this reason, the submersible got blasted, and all five people died.
Why Did The Titanic Submarine Implode?
The Titan’s sub-implosion refers to an unexpected collapse of the vessel. The collapse would have been significantly greater. This is because the wreck occurred almost 4000 meters below the surface of the North Atlantic Ocean. The pressure of deep-sea water crushed the vessel.
Though the manufacturers designed Titan to handle this pressure, it couldn’t. This happened because a five-inch-thick carbon fiber cylinder linked two strong titanium domes at either end of the hull. This caused a problem as carbon fiber is an unusual material for deep-sea submersibles. It is weaker than the solids from which manufacturers make usual vessels.
Moreover, no one has widely tested it in deep-sea diving.
Similar Incident In The Past
This tragic incident echoes that of the Manned Undersea Vehicle (MUV) Johnson Sea Link. In May 1973, three men lost their lives in this incident, somewhat a similar titanic submarine incident in the past. They were piloting a research vessel near Grand Bahama Island. The vehicle carrying Jacques Cousteau’s underwater cameraman, Andre Laban, imploded during an uncontrolled dive.
At the time, Cousteau had raised concerns about the MUV’s safety. He had problems with the hydraulic system, yet the vessel was still put into operation. He even highlighted these problems. Ignorance of these led to a deadly accident.
Features Of Titanic Sub
OceanGate Expeditions were responsible for operating the Titanic sub.
- The submarine weighed about 23,000 pounds.
- The manufacturers used carbon fiber to make them.
- The vessel had safety features to monitor the structural integrity of the hull.
- The vessel could go on a 96-hour trip and sustain five adults.
- It had one washroom, and the passengers sat cross-legged.
- However, despite its unique functionalities and features, it had a risky design.
The sudden loss of these individuals is a reminder of underwater exploration risks. Therefore, we should prioritize safety and then proceed with exploration.