A tourist submersible used to take people to see the wreck of the Titanic has gone missing in the Atlantic Ocean and a search is ongoing.To see important ads, turn off your ad blocker! Article continued below:
A tourist submarine has gone missing in the North Atlantic while on a dive to view the wreck of RMS Titanic. A search and rescue mission was under way on Monday morning, according to the Boston coastguard.
Tourist submarine, expeditions.
OceanGate Expeditions, a company that deploys submersibles for deep sea expeditions, confirmed that one of its submersibles had gone missing.
The company said in a statement that it was exploring options to bring the crew back safely and that it had received help from several government agencies in the process.
It is not clear how many people were on board at the time, but the submersible has a capacity of five people on board – a pilot and four guests.
Coastguards are looking for the vessel in the North Atlantic Ocean and the Ministry of Defence has said it is continuing to “monitor the incident”.
The main difference between a submersible and a submarine, is that the former needs a mother ship that can launch it and recover it, while a submarine has enough power to leave port and come back to port under its own power.
The vessel operates by pinging back a message every 15 minutes to signal to those ashore that it is safe, however Sky News understands that those pings have not been heard from this vessel for more than seven hours.
Sky News has located the Polar Prince tugboat that is on the water around 700m away from the Titanic wreck site, via the website MarineTraffic. The tugboat is used to transport submersibles.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence said: “As the host nation for NATO’s multinational submarine rescue capability, we continue to monitor the incident in the North Atlantic and will guide and assist in any response activity as appropriate.”
Tourists sometimes pay thousands of dollars to be taken to the wreckage of the liner – 12,500ft under water.
OceanGate Expeditions charges $250,000 (£195,270) for a place on its eight-day expedition.
Tourist submarine and Titanic.
The Titanic, a British passenger liner which had been marketed as “unsinkable”, sank on its maiden voyage, from Britain to the US, in April 1912, on a route from Britain to the US after being holed by an iceberg.
The disaster claimed the lives of 1,514 of the 2,224 passengers and crew and remains the most infamous of all civilian maritime disasters. The wreck of the luxury liner was not found until more than seven decades later.
OceanGate started taking small crews of “citizen scientists” in a five-person mini sub two years ago at a cost of $125,000 per person. The price of a trip is now understood to stand at $250,000.
According to the company’s website, Oceangate had a planned eight-day, seven-night expedition to the wreck planned for 12-20 June. A maximum of six visitors were scheduled to depart and return to St John’s, Newfoundland, Canada.
A British businessman, Hamish Harding, a well-known aviator as well as an explorer and one of the tiny group of tourists who have already been to space, who is normally based in the United Arab Emirates, was booked on the current trip and is believed to be among those on board.
Harding, 58, wrote on his various social media accounts about the trip, including on Instagram that:
“I am proud to finally announce that I joined @oceangateexped for their RMS TITANIC Mission as a mission specialist on the sub going down to the Titanic.”
He further posted on Saturday that:
“Due to the worst winter in Newfoundland in 40 years, this mission is likely to be the first and only manned mission to the Titanic in 2023. A weather window has just opened up and we are going to attempt a dive tomorrow.
We started steaming from St Johns, Newfoundland, Canada, yesterday and are planning to start dive operations around 4am tomorrow morning. Until then we have a lot of preparations and briefings to do.”
“The team on the sub has a couple of legendary explorers, some of which have done over 30 dives to the RMS Titanic since the 1980s.” A US Titanic enthusiast, William Oakes, wrote on Facebook that people should pray “right now.”
“Please pray. I have friends and acquaintances that are a part of this mission,” he posted.
The company’s website confirm on Monday that an expedition was under way and noted later on Monday morning that it was striving to bring the occupants back safely.
“Our entire focus is on the crew members in the submersible and their families. We are deeply thankful for the extensive assistance we have received from several government agencies and deep sea companies in our efforts to re-establish contact with the submersible,” a statement on the website said.
The Oceangate website markets its dives to the public thus: “Follow in Jacques Cousteau’s footsteps and become an underwater explorer – beginning with a dive to the wreck of the RMS Titanic.
This is your chance to step outside of everyday life and discover something truly extraordinary.”
“Become one of the few to see the Titanic with your own eyes,” the site says, adding: “Your dive will provide not only a thrilling and unique travel experience, but also help the scientific community learn more about the wreck and the deep ocean environment.
Every dive also has a scientific objective and you can learn more about the research we support here.”
Included in the cost, the company said, was one submersible dive, private accommodations, all required training, expedition gear, all meals while on board.
Since 2021, the Bahamas-based OceanGate Expeditions has ferried about 60 paying customers and 15-20 researchers to the site.
Over the course of the voyage, each guest is given at least one opportunity to spend a day exploring the wreck site from the sub.
“In the vacuum of space,” by definition there is nothing. But there’s more undiscovered life in the ocean than we’ve discovered on the surface of the planet.”
Customers are offered rare, up-close views, through a round window and high-tech cameras, of the sunken ship, the hundreds of marine species that now live on the hull, and the debris field strewn with the Titanic‘s fixtures and its passengers’ personal items.
All The Best!