It’s the adventure of a lifetime: a journey through the chilly depths to the wreck of the RMS Titanic. The Titanic has captivated us since April 14, 1912, when the “unsinkable ship” collided with an iceberg in the North Atlantic and was lost beneath the chilly waves.
She wasn’t discovered until 1985, and some 36 years later, the OceanGate Titanic Survey Expedition made it possible for you to see the Titanic with your own eyes. Starting in 2021, you could descend to the wreck site in a state-of-the-art submersible and explore the remains of the most famous ship in modern history.
How Much Did It Cost Per Person?
If you wanted to explore the Titanic firsthand, planning ahead is key. You needed to apply to be a Mission Specialist, OceanGate’s term for someone who is part of the submersible team. You also had to pay $125,000 for the entire journey. Although the cost was arguably steep, what OceanGate was offering was an experience that had been impossible before.
Your adventure would start in St. John’s, Newfoundland. You would’ve been trained and coached before and during the entire 10-day journey. As a Mission Specialist, you had multiple opportunities to help crewmembers onboard, dive support ship and the expedition itself as well as the diver operations team, and also be a team member to everyone onboard.
The crew consisted of mission specialists, content experts, a pilot and support crew, a vessel crew, technical experts, a film crew, and a doctor, all totaling about 50 or 60 people on board during the mission.
And then in June 2023, a horrific tragedy happened.
The Titan Submersible Accident
The Titan made 13 voyages to the Titanic in 2021 and 2022 before its tragic implosion on June 18, 2023. The crew members on board the Polar Prince support ship reported it missing when Titan failed to resurface at the planned time. A futile weeklong search followed, involving multiple agencies scouring the North Atlantic for any signs of the Titan.
However, On June 22, officials from the U.S. Coast Guard confirmed that a debris field had been found on the ocean floor close to the Titanic’s bow. According to Coast Guard Rear Admiral John Mauger at a press conference, the discovery suggested a “catastrophic implosion” of the vessel, meaning it had collapsed inward killing all five members of the crew.
What Does 2024 Hold For OceanGate?
OceanGate has taken down its social media, and its website has gone dark with the following notice:
“OceanGate Expeditions has suspended all exploration and commercial operations.”
This came in July, a week after OceanGate said it would suspend all operations. Only the old OceanGate Foundation’s website remains active. The only certain thing is that OceanGate is going to be dealing with lawsuits for years to come.
Before their website was shut down, OceanGate was still advertising trips to the Titanic wreckage. They listed two missions to the Titanic in 2024 — June 12-20 and June 21-29 — at a cost of a staggering $250,000 per person. Go figure…
The U.S. government has filed a motion to stop a Titanic expedition planned for 2024, citing a law that protects the shipwreck as a gravesite. RMS Titanic Inc., the exclusive salvage rights holder, faces legal opposition. In the federal court motion in Virginia, the U.S. contends that RMS Titanic Inc. must obtain authorization from the Secretary of Commerce for any activity altering or disturbing the Titanic wreck or its site.
In a June periodic report, RMS Titanic Inc. disclosed plans for a 2024 expedition, stating no intention to seek a permit, as noted in the U.S. government’s motion. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Virginia refrains from additional comments.
What Is OceanGate?
OceanGate is an American privately owned company founded in 2009 in Everett, Washington, by Stockton Rush and Guillermo Söhnlein. The company provides crewed submersibles for tourism, industry, research, and exploration purposes to depths of more than 10,000 feet below the ocean’s surface.
Why Did the OceanGate’s Submersible Fail?
Inadequate design, insufficient testing, and the use of carbon fiber as a structural material have all been suggested as contributing factors. The catastrophic loss of OceanGate’s Titan submersible in June 2023 with all hands aboard has triggered widespread speculation regarding the cause of the accident.
Will There Be Future OceanGate Expeditions?
OceranGate’s future is still undecided. The company’s website showing the forthcoming OceanGate expeditions has gone dark following the public outcry after the tragic accident. The next two OceanGate expeditions were supposed to take place on June 12 – June 20, and June 21 – June 29, 2024.
How Many Trips To RMS Titanic Has Oceangate Made?
Prior to the fatal dive, OceanGate’s Titan made 13 successful expeditions to the RMS Titanic to only a handful of people who had the privilege to dive down to the most famous shipwreck in the world. Over the years, Oceangate has conducted more than 200 dives in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf of Mexico.
What Do You Get on One Submersible Dive?
With the click of a button, Mission Specialists (those who are part of OceanGate’s submersible team) can switch between a camera and sonar to explore the ocean and the ocean floor. They can also view preloaded images of deep-sea species, and the Titanic as they experience an entirely foreign world.