After a riveting multinational quest spanning five days, Oceangate’s ill-fated voyage to Titanic's wreck ended in tragedy claiming five lives, including CEO Stockton Rush.
The deep-sea submersible named Titan was found shattered in a "catastrophic implosion” where there were echoes of desolation as a robotic diving vehicle from a Canadian ship discovered a tragic debris field 2 ½ miles beneath the surface, according to U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral John Mauger.
Sadly, an entirely superfluous political, and professional, philosophy may be the root cause of this great American tragedy.
No old white guys
Oceangate’s CEO, Stockton Rush, who is also an old white guy, didn’t think highly-trained professionals with decades of military experience were the best people to captain his ships because they were old, white, and “not inspirational”.
Rush added that quality experience and expertise were unnecessary because all it takes is a $30 video game controller to operate the submarine.
Oceangate CEO Stockton Rush showing the Logitech F710 game controller used to control the Titan submersible.
“When I started the business, one of the things you’ll find, there are other sub-operators out there, but they typically have, uh, gentlemen who are ex-military submariners and they — you’ll see a whole bunch of 50-year-old white guys,” Rush told Teledyne Marine in a newly resurfaced 2020 Zoom interview.
“I wanted our team to be younger, to be inspirational and I’m not going to inspire a 16-year-old to go pursue marine technology, but a 25-year-old, uh, you know, who’s a sub pilot or a platform operator or one of our techs can be inspirational,” he continued.
Let’s the inverse of that statement: “Yea, I didn’t hire those guys because they were young, black, and inexperienced”
Sounds pretty wild, right?
Nobody bats an eye when old white men are invoked in the conversation of professional privilege or positive discrimination.
It just so happens that older men (regardless of their race) with 30+ years of military experience operating, developing, and inspecting aquatic vessels, like submersibles, would have probably saved Rush’s life, along with the other passengers who spent $250,000 each for the deadly experience.
This blind obedience to wokeist ideology that promotes race over reason and ethnicity over experience may have actually cost this millionaire his life.
If he had chosen to hire based on expertise and experience, then this sad story about the Titan sub’s ‘catastrophic implosion’ would probably have never been told.
Why was the vessel so unsafe?
During the ongoing frantic search for OceanGate's missing Titan submersible and its five passengers, previous concerns about the vessel's safety resurfaced.
Experts from both within and outside OceanGate had expressed apprehensions as early as 2018, highlighting potential risks associated with the submersible.
Will Kohnen, Chair of the Marine Technology Society's Submarine Committee, disclosed that the project had long been a source of concern, citing a lack of oversight and adherence to established safety guidelines.
"It hasn't surprised us," - Will Kohnen, the chair of the Marine Technology Society's Submarine Committee
In 2018, Kohnen drafted a letter to OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, conveying unanimous concerns from industry members regarding the development and planned expeditions of the Titan, including visits to the Titanic shipwreck site.
The letter emphasized the possibility of negative outcomes, ranging from minor to catastrophic, that could affect the entire industry. While the letter was never officially submitted, Kohnen had a conversation with Rush, ultimately agreeing to disagree on the matter.
One major concern raised by experts was OceanGate's decision to forgo official oversight and certification processes typically followed by other companies in the industry.
Unlike most operators who seek approval from independent third-party agencies, OceanGate chose a different path, focusing on rapid innovation. This approach drew attention to the lack of oversight in the company's operating procedures and decision-making, which experts believed could contribute to accidents.
OceanGate, in a 2019 blog post, admitted that most significant marine operators mandate charter vessels to be "classed" by independent groups.
Nonetheless, the company emphasized that this evaluation primarily focuses on the physical condition of the vessels, overlooking the critical aspects of a company's operational procedures and decision-making processes, which often play a prominent role in accidents.
The whistleblower they fired
OceanGate's former director of marine operations, David Lochridge, also expressed safety concerns about the Titan, particularly regarding testing its carbon fiber hull.
Lochridge claimed that the company fired him after he voiced these concerns and advocated for a classification agency to inspect and certify the vessel.
OceanGate contended that Lochridge breached his contract and relied on acoustic tests to detect safety issues, eventually settling the matter out of court in 2018.
The Titan had experienced setbacks during previous expeditions, including battery problems and external damage on its maiden voyage. Notably, during an expedition in 2022, the submersible lost contact with the surface crew for five hours, and a mechanical issue forced the vessel to abort a dive at a depth of 37 feet.
This submersible does not have any kind of beacon like that. On my expedition last summer, they did indeed get lost for about 5 hours, and adding such a beacon was discussed” - David Pogue, a former passenger
These incidents, along with the tragic implosion, have cast a shadow on OceanGate's safety measures and raised questions about the reliability of its operations.
Despite the recent tragedy and concerns surrounding the Titan, experts like Kohnen believe that deep-sea exploration remains a viable endeavor.
They argue that existing expertise in designing and operating submersibles can ensure safety, but acknowledge the challenges and costs associated with such ventures.
As the search for the missing Titan submersible continues, industry experts emphasize the delicate balance between advancing regulations and accommodating rapid technological advancements in order to safeguard both innovation and human lives.
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