It has been nearly 70 hours since the disappearance of an OceanGate submersible, which carried five individuals including the OceanGate CEO, during an exploration of the Titanic wreckage off the coast of Newfoundland, and no contact has been established with the vessel. Apart from Rush, the submersible has onboard British billionaire adventure seeker Hamish Harding, British-Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son Sulaiman, and French navigator Paul Henri-Nargeolet.
The submersible lost communication with the command ship within two hours of the dive on Sunday, June 18, prompting joint rescue operations by American and Canadian authorities.
This incident raises questions about a possible malfunction in the communication system between the submersible and the command ship, which relied on Elon Musk's Starlink service.
OceanGate Expeditions, the operator of the submarine, had previously commended and expressed gratitude for the Internet connectivity provided by Musk's Starlink service, which allowed them to stay connected during their expeditions.
The wreck of the Titanic lies about 400 miles off the coast of Newfoundland. Without any cell towers in the middle of the ocean, we are relying on @Starlink to provide the communications we require throughout this year’s 2023 Titanic Expedition.— OceanGate Expeditions (@OceanGateExped) June 14, 2023
More: https://t.co/F7OtKI0En7 pic.twitter.com/wr7HeKlGjj
For this disappearance to occur, it is likely that not only the Internet service but other technical aspects of the submersible too may have failed. The sub should have resurfaced using one of its seven resurfacing mechanisms after losing communication, but this has not yet occurred, indicating a different type of malfunction.
Could you elaborate on how you got lost for 5 hours? What was that experience like and how were you able to surface?— Marinus (@MarinusTrades) June 19, 2023
Wow. OceanGate, the company that owns the missing submersible, fired an employee a few years ago after he filed safety complaints against them. The employee specifically said the sub was not capable of descending to such extreme depths before he was fired.https://t.co/c3s2H3eVEr— Caroline Orr Bueno, Ph.D (@RVAwonk) June 20, 2023
OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush said that exploration carries an inherent risk on the "Unsung Science" podcast, hosted by CBS correspondent David Pogue in November 2022.
Several other abnormalities onboard including the Logitech gaming joystick steering the sub, just a single switch onboard, and so on have surfaced now, with the vessel going missing.
The observations by former voyagers and experts clearly point out that safety measures were not taken care of. Some even warned of potentially 'catastrophic problems' with the Titanic expedition.
The kind of non-serious attempt to explore the Titanic, hopefully ends well as there are about 20-ish hours till the oxygen runs out.