The Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Halifax, Canada, said contact with the ship was lost at 9:13 p.m. Sunday (5:13 a.m. Moscow time Monday), about 700 kilometers south of St. John’s in Newfoundland, Canada, after an hour and 45 minute drive. “Titan” may be at a depth of about 4.5 kilometers. The search is being conducted by the Polar Prince, the ship that delivered the submersible to the dive site, a Canadian P8 Poseidon aircraft. Titan submersibles do not have the ability to navigate underwater. Instead, they rely on text messages from the mother ship to tell them where to go. It was this connection that the Titan lost.
Meanwhile, Alistair Greig, professor of marine engineering at University College London, warned of the challenges rescuers would face, according to the Associated Press. Submersibles typically have what’s called a “drop weight,” which is “the mass they can release in an emergency to float to the surface,” he says. “If there was a power failure and/or communication failure, it would happen, and then the sub would be bobbing on the surface, waiting to be found,” Greig said. However, this did not happen and the apparatus, for various reasons, remains at a depth. Another scenario is a leak in a pressure vessel, in which case the prognosis is poor, the expert said. “If it’s sunk to the bottom of the sea and can’t get up on its own, there are very few options,” Greig said. “Although the submersible may still be intact if it is off the continental shelf, very few vessels can dive to such a depth, and certainly not divers,” the expert added. Even if they could dive that deep, he doubts they’d be able to attach themselves to the hatch of the submersible.
The leak could be due to the fact that it could collide with the wreckage of the Titanic. According to the Daily Mail, at the time of the communication loss, the device was directly over the wreckage of the Titanic. Submarine experts also fear that the only way to reach the Titan is by remote-controlled vehicle. They can reach a maximum depth of 20,000 feet (6,000 meters). Former Coast Guard officer John Mixon told Fox News it was “an extremely serious and horrible situation,” adding: “It’s hard to know what really happened when you just lose communication in a situation like this until you find the boat. “. “This is not a common occurrence at all. Obviously, something happened very fast and very tragic,” he said.
US Coast Guard Rear Admiral John Mauger said the ship has “between 70 and 96 full hours” of oxygen. According to him, the search for the missing submersible is difficult, since rescuers are looking for it both underwater and on the surface of the ocean in a very remote place. The US Coast Guard said Monday that a pilot and four “mission specialists” were on board. Mauger said C-130s were scanning the surface and two P-8s, which use sonar to search for submarines, were involved in the search. Commercial vessels are also involved in the operation, he said, and one of them has sonar. “We often rely on commercial operators to be the first to arrive,” Mauger said. Former Royal Navy Rear Admiral Chris Parry, speaking on Sky News, echoed Mauger’s concerns. “It’s very worrying. It could be entangled in the wreckage of the Titanic, we don’t know the details yet,” Parry said.
David Concannon, an adviser to Oceangate, who embarked and submerged the ship with a crew of five, confirmed that the submersible had 96 hours of oxygen. Thus, it will last until 12 noon London time (14 Moscow time) on Thursday. According to a company representative, she was supposed to go diving, but was unable to go to sea due to another client. Concannon said officials are working to get the ROV to the scene as soon as possible. OceanGate’s expeditions to the Titanic wreck include archaeologists and marine biologists.
British business explorer Hamish Harding and Paul-Henri Nargueole, a veteran deep-sea diver in the French Navy, are on board, according to The Guardian. As director of underwater research for E/M Group and RMS Titanic, he is widely regarded as the leading wreck site specialist and may have been in charge of the submersible during the four-passenger dive. Nargeole led several expeditions to the Titanic and oversaw the recovery of 5,000 artifacts, including “a large part,” a 20-ton section of the hull of an ocean liner that sank in 1912. OceanGate Expeditions CEO and founder Stockton Rush also may be on board, Sky News reports. Dubai-based Action Aviation confirmed that British billionaire Hamish Harding, chairman of its board of directors, was one of the tourists on board.
Two years ago, OceanGate began housing small groups of “citizen scientists” in a five-person mini-submarine at a cost of $125,000 per person. The cost of the trip is now estimated at 250 thousand dollars. The eight-day voyage includes a two-hour dive to the wreck of the Titanic and the same amount during the ascent. In total, this can take eight to ten hours.