Calls To Establish The Facts As Debris From ‘Catastrophic Implosion’ Brought Ashore
Specialist lawyers have called for a thorough investigation, after reports surfaced outlining safety concerns over a submersible that suffered an implosion on a dive to the wreck of the Titanic.
The Titan was on a dive to the site of the famous wreck with a crew of five, when communication was lost on Sunday 18 June, an hour and 45 minutes into the two and a half-hour decent.
A huge international search and rescue effort over the last 10 days culminated in the recovery of debris from the craft and presumed human remains from its five passengers. The US Coast Guard has launched an investigation into the tragedy.
The sub, operated by OceanGate is described as an ‘experimental’ craft by the company and safety fears came to light after media interviews with a former consultant to OceanGate who raised serious concerns in 2018.
The deep sea exploration specialist claimed in a series of media interviews that the carbon fibre hull wasn’t properly tested and the sub’s viewport was only certified by the manufacturer to a depth of 1,300m. The Titanic sits at a depth of 3,800m.
Subs classified by marine organisations must meet certain standards, but this isn’t mandatory. An OceanGate blog post in 2019 suggested that such classification ‘slowed down innovation’ and sought to explain why the Titan wasn’t ‘classed’.
A reporter who dived on the Titan in 2022 said a document signed before boarding described the sub as experimental, hadn’t been approved or certified by any regulatory body and ‘could result in physical injury, emotional trauma or death.’ Prospective passenger Chris Brown, was reported to have reclaimed his deposit back, after concluding the firm was ‘cutting too many corners.’
Irwin Mitchell has supported people affected by major incidents from across the world, including the Zeebrugge ferry disaster; Marchioness riverboat disaster, those caught up in the sinking of the Costa Concordia and the 2006 capsize of the Al Dana Dhow off the coast of Bahrain which left nearly 60 passengers and crew dead.
Expert Opinion“The world has been gripped by this unfolding tragedy and our thoughts and prayers are now with the families and friends of those who have lost their loved ones. The horror for those involved is unimaginable.
“Reports of serious concerns about this sub from five years ago have come as a shock. The fact that a vessel such as this can legally descend over two miles to the ocean floor with paying passengers and no official safety certification will come as a surprise to many people.
“It is clear that these safety concerns must now be fully investigated, to establish the facts and ensure any lessons are learned from these events for the future.” Demetrius Danas - Partner