An advisor in the search for the ill-fated Titan submersible, which imploded in the North Atlantic Ocean on June 18, said calls to the US government for help went unanswered. David Concannon, who works with OceanGate, the company that owned the submarine, said private-sector businesses led rescue efforts because his attempts to involve government agencies were scuppered as he struggled to get hold of anyone.
“When I communicate with the United States government, I get out-of-office replies, not from everyone, but from key people that have a sign-off on this. That is unacceptable. Absolutely unacceptable,” Concannon said.
The story began on June 18 when a small submarine named Titan departed from the Massachusetts coast on a mission to visit the world’s most famous shipwreck, RMS Titanic. The wreck is located about 900 miles from the coast of Cape Cod. OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, Pakistani billionaire Shahzada Dawood, his son Suleman Dawood, and French diver Paul-Henri Nargeolet were all on board.
The vessel lost contact with the surface just under two hours after its departure and did not return that evening as scheduled. The US and Canadian coastguards responded with an urgent search mission, but four days later, on June 22, all hope was lost when parts of the submersible were found lying on the ocean floor around 1,600 feet from the bow of the Titanic.
It has since emerged that the vehicle in question had been subjected to no safety tests and was never officially declared seaworthy. According to reports, Mr. Rush had a blasé attitude to safety and said it hindered innovation.
Speculation as to the cause of the vehicle’s implosion is ongoing. Experts will bring the pieces of the submarine’s wreckage to the surface, where they will be microscopically examined for evidence of leakage or tears. Given the fact that Titan imploded in international waters, responsibility for the upcoming investigation is unclear, but the US Coast Guard is likely to play a prominent role.