Titanic: mourning families and critics after the implosion of the submersible

Titan passengers (lr, top to bottom) British businessman Hamish Harding, OceanGate founder Stockton Rush, French Titanic specialist Paul-Henri Nargeolet, Pakistani-British tycoon Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleiman. The families of the five expedition members who set off to visit the wreck of the Titanic were in mourning on Friday after news of the implosion of their small scientific tourism submarine amid growing criticism of potential neglect. James Cameron, director of the film “Titanic” and avid explorer of the seabed, denounced the “ignored warnings” about safety, saying he was “struck by the similarity with the disaster” of the famous ship on the American channel ABC News. “I was involved in the early phases of the development program” at OceanGate, and “we were extremely committed to security”, retorted on Times Radio Guillermo Söhnlein, co-founder of the company with the American Stockton Rush, who died in the implosion of the submersible. “Risk mitigation was a key part of the company culture,” he said. Mr Söhnlein, who left the company in 2013, recalled that James Cameron himself had visited the wreck many times to produce his 1997 planetary hit. a US committee on manned submersibles bringing together companies and researchers, said that his group had raised concerns about the “Titan” developed by OceanGate. But according to him, the company was “unwilling” to undergo a certification process – “Deep sorrow” – On their side, the relatives of the rich Pakistani-British businessman and his son, who died with the three other passengers, expressed their “deep sorrow”. Shahzada Dawood, 48, and her son Suleman, 19, were part of a family that founded one of Pakistan’s most successful industrial empires. Another bereaved family is that of British businessman Hamish Harding, 58, who paid tribute to the aviation magnate in a statement, saying he was a “passionate explorer” as well as a “loving husband and a devoted father to his two sons”. The former diver and navy soldier, Frenchman Paul-Henri Nargeolet, 77, nicknamed “Mr. Titanic”, was also on board the submersible. After four days of extensive search that captivated in the United States and abroad, the United States Coast Guard and expedition organizer OceanGate announced Thursday that all five passengers of the submersible had died in the “catastrophic implosion of the device. “The debris field” found by the search robots near the mythical wreck, by nearly 4,000 meters deep, “is compatible with a catastrophic implosion” of the submersible, declared, for his part, Rear Admiral John Mauger of the US Coast Guard. He spoke of a “catastrophic loss” of pressure at the origin of the accident. Hardly the outcome of this tragedy known, the Wall Street Journal revealed Thursday evening that the US Navy had detected on Sunday, shortly after the loss of contact with the device, a signal indicating the probable implosion of the submersible. – ‘True explorers’ – “These men were true explorers who shared a spirit of adventure and a deep passion for exploring and protecting the world’s oceans,” praised OceanGate, saying “mourn the loss of human life “. US Rear Admiral Mauger offered his “sincere condolences” to the families of the missing. On the London side, which lost three nationals, Foreign Minister James Cleverly deplored the “tragic news” on Twitter and expressed his government’s “support” and “deep condolences” to the families. Surveillance using C-130 or P3 aircraft, ships equipped with underwater robots: the United States and Canada had still deployed means Thursday morning in the North Atlantic, off the two countries, where the Polar Prince, the ship from which the small tourist submarine left on Sunday. The surface search area was 20,000 square kilometers. Paris had dispatched the Atalante, a ship from the French Research Institute for the Exploitation of the Sea (Ifremer) equipped with a robot capable of diving to the wreck of the Titanic. – Potential negligence – The Titan, around 6.5 meters long, had dived on Sunday and was due to resurface seven hours later but contact was lost less than two hours after it set off. The machine had a theoretical autonomy of 96 hours of oxygen. On Wednesday, however, there was still hope. Canadian P-3 planes had detected noises under water, but their origin had a priori no link with the submersible. Over the course of research this week, information implicating OceanGate has come to light on possible technical negligence of the underwater tourism device. A civil complaint in the United States in 2018 shows that a former company executive, David Lochridge, was fired after raising serious doubts about the safety of the submersible. According to this former director of marine operations, a large porthole at the front of the device was designed to withstand the pressure suffered at 1,300 m depth and not at 4,000 m. For 250,000 dollars instead, the passengers had engaged in an exploration of the remains of what was one of the greatest maritime disasters of the 20th century, with nearly 1,500 dead. Since the discovery of the wreck of the Titanic in 1985, scientists, treasure seekers and wealthy tourists have visited it, thus maintaining the myth. LNT with Afp To go further