7 Obvious Mistakes That Could Have Prevented the Titan Tragedy

As of this writing, it is believed that all five individuals, including British billionaire Hamish Harding, OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, French navy veteran PH Nargeolet, and Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman, have tragically lost their lives. 

While the families of the victims are coping with the pain of their loss, attention is now shifting to examining the factors that could have prevented this tragedy. Looking at the incident, we found several key errors leading up to the disaster and the numerous safety concerns that were raised are being investigated.

1. Delay before sounding the alarm  

The first error identified is the delay in reporting the loss of contact with the submersible to the US Coast Guard.

OceanGate Expeditions took eight hours to inform the Coast Guard about the situation, even though the submersible lost communication with its mothership, the Polar Prince, after just an hour and 45 minutes into the dive. The company has not provided an explanation for the delay.

2. ‘Flimsy’ sub with shop-bought parts  

The second issue centers around the construction quality of the submersible. Critics have described it as “flimsy” and compared it to a “kit car” assembled with parts easily obtainable from online retailers like Amazon.

Moreover, there are concerns about the submersible’s lights, CCTV cameras, and ballast pipes, which are reportedly off-the-shelf components.

The CEO of OceanGate, Stockton Rush, defended the submersible but acknowledged the need for certain improvements.

3. Repeated warnings from experts 

Thirdly, experts in submersible vehicles had previously warned Stockton Rush about potential problems and the risks associated with the company’s approach.

However, it remains unclear whether these warnings were addressed.

Those who boarded the submersible were required to sign a disclaimer acknowledging the experimental nature of the vessel and the potential risks involved.

4. Safety incidents on dives  

Safety incidents on previous dives are also under scrutiny. The Titan experienced technical issues and mishaps on at least six occasions before its disappearance. These incidents included parts falling off, electrical problems causing delays, battery drain leading to an early end to a dive, and performance issues reported by passengers.

5. Billionaire’s friend withdrew due to safety worries 

Furthermore, a friend of the billionaire who intended to join the dive withdrew due to safety concerns.

He criticised the quality of technology and materials used in the submersible, highlighting the use of old scaffolding poles for ballast and controls based on video game-style controllers.

6. Official inspections rebuffed  

OceanGate decided against having the submersible classified, which involves independent inspections to ensure compliance with industry-wide technical standards.

The company claimed that seeking classification would be time-consuming and hinder rapid innovation. However, seeking classification could have provided an additional layer of safety assurance.

7. Worker fired after raising safety issues  

Finally, a former Director of Marine Operations for the Titan project, David Lochridge, was fired in 2018 after raising safety concerns and demanding more rigorous safety checks on the submersible.

He advocated for using a classification agency to inspect and certify the vessel and insisted on non-destructive testing to detect potential flaws. OceanGate disagreed with his requests and terminated his employment.

And the search goes on

Oxygen is now feared to have run out on the missing Titanic submersible but a fleet of rescue ships are still searching for the vessel.

The rescue mission which involves robot subs and a US Navy CURV21 are hoping to find the lost Titan craft and pull it to the surface. A deep water robot sub has reached the Atlantic floor while another is descending the 12,500ft of ocean – just as the oxygen deadline passed.

The OceanGate sub’s air supply is thought to have run out around 12pm today UK time.

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