OPERATOR of the submersible, which imploded during a trip to the Titanic wreckage in June, OceanGate Expeditions, has announced the suspension of all its commercial activities.
This was contained in a short message on OceanGate’s website. The message read: “OceanGate has suspended all exploration and commercial operations.”
The announcement comes two weeks after OceanGate’s vessel, Titan, imploded in the sea, killing all five underwater explorers aboard the submersible, including the company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Stockton Rush.
Other occupants of the Titan sub include British businessman Hamish Harding, British-Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman, and French explorer Paul-Henry Nargeolet.
The Titanic wreck sits over 12,000 feet below the sea, and OceanGate had previously carried out successful trips to the site, for the cost of $250,000 per passenger.
OceanGate lost contact with the sub less than two hours after it dived into the sea, resulting in a frenzied search that lasted for four days, after which parts of the vessel were found on the sea floor, and the United States Coast Guard said it suffered a catastrophic implosion on the day it went missing.
Following the implosion, previous concerns about the safety of the submersible were made public.
There had been calls from at least three dozen experts in the industry for extra assessment and warnings of possible catastrophe due to the company’s refusal to subject the vessel to further inspection.
OceanGate has been the subject of public criticism for ignoring warnings of potential disaster and experimenting with the lives of unsuspecting passengers.
On June 29, presumed human remains were found within the Titan’s wreckage brought up from the ocean floor.
The US Coast Guard has set up a Marine Board of Investigation, described as its highest level of inquiry, to investigate the cause of the catastrophic implosion and provide recommendations against a future reoccurrence.