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Updated Jul 6, 2023, 3:15pm EDT
North America

OceanGate suspends all operations after fatal Titan implosion

OceanGate Expeditions/Handout via REUTERS
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The News

OceanGate announced that it was suspending all exploration and commercial operations weeks after five people were killed when the company’s Titan submersible imploded during an expedition to see the Titanic’s wreckage. The CEO of the undersea expedition company was among the victims.

The notice appeared in small red text on the top left corner of the company’s website, though it is unclear when it was made.

We’ve curated insightful reporting and analysis on the OceanGate disaster and what it means for the future of the extreme tourism industry.

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Insights

  • A lengthy New Yorker piece published over the weekend found that OceanGate ”ignored desperate warnings from inside and outside the company.” It included revelations that a former employee had raised safety concerns, and that the people onboard were classified as “mission specialists” rather than “passengers” because it’s illegal to take passengers on an experimental submersible.
  • As of late June, OceanGate’s website was still advertising trips, including two eight-day missions to the Titanic shipwreck next summer. — Insider
  • Travel Weekly editor Arnie Weissmann argued the Titan implosion is likely to alter the extreme tourism industry, including deep-sea sub missions and space travel. That future “will require that companies offering risky adventures put a preoccupation on failure above speed to market,” he wrote. The most reliable companies will “shy away from simplicity ... and embrace the complexity of high-risk operations.”
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Know More

The five passengers, some of whom would have paid about $250,000 for the undersea journey on June 19, were reported missing after they did not have contact with the mothership for an hour and 45 minutes.

The submersible was the size of a minivan, weighing 23,000 pounds and carrying oxygen for only 96 hours. Reports on the Titan’s “improvised” design, lack of sophisticated communication, and safety concerns from past OceanGate employees surfaced in the wake of its disappearance.

Three days after a massive search by the U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards for the missing submersible, officials found debris of the Titan, some of which were 1,600 feet away from the bow of the Titanic on the seafloor.

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Officials concluded that the Titan likely suffered a “catastrophic implosion” based on the debris field.

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