Titan Implosion: OceanGate Suspends Exploration, Commercial Operations

    Image copyright: Wikimedia Commons

    The Facts

    • Nearly three weeks after its submersible vessel Titan imploded — killing all five people on board — the company OceanGate announced on Thursday that it has indefinitely suspended all exploration and commercial operations.

    • The Titan, which was about the size of a minivan, had been on a diving trip to the wreck of the Titanic on June 18 when it lost contact with its mother ship, after descending for about 1 hr and 45 mins. Four days later, authorities confirmed that the submersible suffered a "catastrophic implosion."


    The Spin

    Narrative A

    OceanGate was aware of safety concerns and the possibility of a catastrophic outcome associated with its Titan submersible, but still chose to go through with a voyage that ultimately killed five people. CEO Stockton Rush had previously bragged about "breaking rules" in the construction of the submersible; it is likely the experimental and irresponsible approach led to this tragic accident. It is about time OceanGate took responsibility.

    Narrative B

    High-risk tourism is a thriving industry for the ultra-rich, who pay ludicrous sums to launch themselves into space, climb Mount Everest, or explore the wreck of the Titanic over two miles under the sea. Perhaps the real issue here is the hubris of these tourists and the companies that enable them. While more regulation and scrutiny could possibly have prevented this tragedy, the truth is, this was a status symbol trip taken by people who knew the risks but chose to ignore them.

    Narrative C

    This is the first fatality on a passenger carriage submarine. The investigation into the implosion of the submersible is still in its early stages and such a review has never been carried out before. There is still a lot of work to be done to understand the factors that led to the accident and help ensure a similar tragedy does not happen again. It is far too early to start speculating or politicizing this incident.


    Sign up to our daily newsletter