What does the death of the five billionaire passengers aboard the submarine Titan mean for OceanGate? Keep reading to know more details about the same.
The news of the disappearance of the OceanGate submersible Titan led to a massive rescue operation as officials attempted to locate the vessel and the five billionaire passengers aboard it. After days of updates, the US Coast Guard discovered debris from the 21-foot submarine and announced the implosion of the submarine, thus presuming the deaths of those on board it. Here is the aftermath of the unfortunate incident and OceanGate’s involvement in it.
Titan: Debris of missing submersible and implosion
Titan was on an expedition to explore the wreckage of the Titanic on June 18, 2023, when it lost contact with Polar Prince, the support ship that transported it to the site, one hour and 45 minutes into its dive. When the submarine did not surface at its scheduled time, authorities were informed and a research operation was initiated. After days of teams being dispatched and banging noises being heard, the news of the vessel’s debris being found came to light.
At a press briefing Rear Admiral John Mauger, commander of the 1st Coast Guard District in Boston, said, “The debris field is consistent with a catastrophic implosion of the vessel,” thus presuming the deaths of the five passengers on board. Debris from the carbon-fiber vessel was discovered around 500 meters from the bow of the Titanic ruins. The five people on board were Hamish Harding, Shahzada Dawood, Suleman Dawood, Paul-Henry Nargeolet, and Stockton Rush. Their deaths have raised questions regarding OceanGate facing charges.
Will OceanGate face criminal charges?
Netizens have been wondering whether OceanGate, the company that owned the imploded submersible, will face any criminal charges or lawsuits for being responsible for the death of the five billionaires. Rush, one of the five presumed dead in the implosion, was the CEO of OceanGate. The company’s statement reads, “These men were true explorers who shared a distinct spirit of adventure, and a deep passion for exploring the world’s oceans. Our hearts are with these five souls and every member of their families during this tragic time.”
David Pogue, a former passenger on the submersible, told People that everyone is required to sign a waiver that details “all the ways that you could be permanently disabled, emotionally traumatized or killed.” He explained, “So everybody doing this goes in with their eyes wide open that this is an experimental vessel.” He revealed that the waiver says the vessel has not been inspected or certified by any government body. Alan Estrada, another former passenger said that those involved in such expeditions know how incredibly risky it is.
But trial attorney Neama Rahmani said the waiver does not protect OceanGate and that a civil lawsuit is 100% certain. “You can only waive a simple negligence. By law, you can’t waive gross negligence. If they’re not participating in what’s the industry standard or the custom, that’s evidence that can come in at any trial — whether it’s civil or criminal, of negligence or criminal recklessness.” He added, “The civil lawsuit is pretty much absolute certainty. The criminal prosecution is a bigger question.”
Rahmani told People that it is difficult to determine what charges the company can face because it comes down to various factors. He concluded that Stockton Rush, OceanGate’s CEO, being among the dead passengers makes the possibility of criminal charges against the company a little hard. Earlier, when the official timer of the present oxygen supply in the vessel timed out, the rescue mission officially became a recovery mission. The debris was found soon after which confirmed the unfortunate implosion.