Officials to investigate Titan's mother ship recordings and datafollowing the tragic underwater voyage of the Titan submersible, which resulted in the loss of all five crew members. The US Coast Guard has announced the formation of a Marine Board of Investigation, which represents the highest level of investigation conducted by the Coast Guard, according to Capt. Jason Neubauer, the chief investigator.
This panel will be responsible for identifying the factors that led to the catastrophe and providing potential recommendations to relevant authorities for pursuing civil or criminal actions if deemed necessary. Capt. Neubauer shared these details during a news conference held on Sunday.
In the wake of the Titan's devastating implosion, multiple investigations have been initiated, including a newly announced probe by the Coast Guard. The focus of this investigation will initially involve the collection of debris from the wreckage and conducting interviews with relevant individuals. Capt. Neubauer stated that a public hearing will be held by the board to gather additional testimonies from witnesses. Subsequently, the board will compile a report that will include evidence, conclusions, and recommendations.
Simultaneously, Canadian officials revealed that they would be reviewing voice recordings obtained from the mother ship, the Polar Prince, which transported the Titan and its crew. Investigators boarded the vessel on Saturday to retrieve information from its voyage data recorder and other systems that may contain pertinent data. The voyage data recorder, which stores audio from the ship's bridge, will be analyzed as part of the inquiry.
During this period of investigation, the crew and family members have been interviewed aboard the Polar Prince. The ship returned to St. John's, the capital of Newfoundland and Labrador, with flags flying at half-mast as a mark of respect.
The primary objective of the agency leading the investigation is not to assign blame, but rather to ascertain the sequence of events and the underlying causes, in order to identify necessary changes that can mitigate the likelihood of similar incidents in the future, stated Kathy Fox, Chair of the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.
Additionally, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police is conducting its own investigation to determine whether any criminal, federal, or provincial laws were potentially violated.
Officials conducting the investigation are likely to closely examine the communications exchanged between the submersible and its mother ship. According to archived information from OceanGate Expeditions, the ship had the capability to communicate with the submersible via text messages, and it was mandated to maintain communication every 15 minutes.
These recent developments transpired approximately three days after the US Coast Guard reported the "catastrophic implosion" of the vessel, resulting in the loss of all individuals on board. Analysis conducted by military experts discovered debris in the ocean approximately 1,600 feet from the bow of the Titanic, which is consistent with the failure of the submersible's pressure chamber, as explained by Rear Adm. John Mauger of the US Coast Guard.
The victims of the tragedy include Stockton Rush, the CEO of OceanGate Expeditions, the company operating the vessel, as well as Hamish Harding, a British businessman, Paul-Henri Nargeolet, a French diver, and Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman, both British citizens of Pakistani origin.
The OceanGate Titan sub underwater According to a statement from Pelagic Research Services, the recovery mission for debris resulting from the submersible's implosion is currently underway in the Atlantic Ocean. The statement, initially reported by CNN, indicates that the Odysseus 6K, a remotely operated vehicle, has conducted its fourth dive since reaching the Titan rescue site.
Pelagic Research Services stated that the Odysseus 6K has been making use of its heavy lift capabilities throughout the Titan recovery mission, and these capabilities continue to be employed. However, the company did not confirm whether any debris had been successfully recovered and directed inquiries to the US Coast Guard, which is leading the investigation into the implosion and coordinating the recovery efforts.
Efforts to gather information from the seabed have involved vehicles tasked with mapping the extensive debris field of the sunken submersible, which lies at a depth of over 2 miles in the North Atlantic, according to Rear Admiral John Mauger of the US Coast Guard.
On Thursday morning, officials reported the discovery of five significant pieces of debris from the submersible. Paul Hankins, the US Navy's director of Salvage Operations and Ocean Engineering, noted that each end of the pressure hull was found in separate locations.
Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) missions are expected to continue for approximately another week, as stated by Jeff Mahoney, spokesperson for Pelagic Research Services, a company specializing in ocean expeditions.
However, any attempts to recover items from the debris field will require a larger operation in conjunction with Deep Energy, another company involved in the mission. This collaboration is necessary because the debris is expected to be too heavy for Pelagic's ROV to lift independently, as explained by Mahoney. The recovery efforts would involve the use of rigged cabling to lift any retrieved debris.
Amid growing inquiries into the design of the Titan submersible, a multinational investigation has been launched. A thorough examination of OceanGate's marketing materials, public statements by CEO Stockton Rush, and court records reveals that the company, despite emphasizing a commitment to safety, deviated from industry standards that would have subjected its operations and vessels to increased scrutiny.
In a departure from the norm, OceanGate declined to undergo a voluntary, comprehensive safety review of the vessel, as reported by an industry expert. Furthermore, during an undersea expedition off the coast of the Bahamas in April 2019, submersible expert Karl Stanley, who was on board the Titan, detected unusual noises and expressed concerns about potential defects in an email to CEO Stockton Rush of OceanGate Expeditions.
According to Stanley:
What we heard, in my opinion sounded like a flaw/defect in one area being acted on by the tremendous pressures and being crushed/damaged. From the intensity of the sounds, the fact that they never totally stopped at depth, and the fact that there were sounds at about 300 feet that indicated a relaxing of stored energy/would indicate that there is an area of the hull that is breaking down/ getting spongy.- Submersible expert, Karl Stanley
In response to inquiries regarding Karl Stanley's email, a spokesperson for OceanGate stated that they are currently unable to offer any further information or comment on the matter.