OceanGate, a provider of manned submersible services, has rescheduled its 2018 Titanic Survey Expedition to the summer of 2019.
To conduct the first manned expedition to Titanic since 2005, OceanGate built Titan, its newest 5-person submersible that is designed to dive to depths of 4000 meters (2.5 miles).
The final phase of preparation for the expedition includes testing the carbon fiber and titanium sub to the maximum design depth. The test plan includes a series of dives in an incremental stair step approach to reach 4000 meters in a safe and controlled manner.
Deep sea testing began in late April near Marsh Harbour in the Bahamas. Upon arrival the sub’s electronics sustained lightning damage that affected over 70% of its internal systems.
Combined with stormy and windy conditions in the Bahamas the team was unable to complete the first 4000-meter dive at least 45 days prior to the Titanic Survey Expedition. This milestone was a key decision point in the testing timeline and a trigger for a go/no-go decision to conduct the expedition in 2018.
“While we are disappointed by the need to reschedule the expedition, we are not willing to short cut the testing process due to a condensed timeline,” said Stockton Rush, OceanGate CEO. “We are 100% committed to safety and want to fully test the sub and validate all operational and emergency procedures before launching any expedition.”
“We want to give ourselves every opportunity to safely achieve our goals, with this decision to reschedule, our clients, crew, partners and affiliates now have time to make alternative plans for 2018,” said Rush.
OceanGate plans to continue deep sea testing in the Bahamas to reach 4000 meters this summer and conduct additional dives in these waters for the foreseeable future as it prepares for the Titanic Survey Expedition in 2019 and other opportunities to explore around the globe.