Submarine company OceanGate began the first of many weeklong missions on Tuesday to take tourists to the wreck of the Titanic as the famous ship decays into the sea.

Expedition to observe Titanic begins as sunken ship decays

Charles Hilu July 04, 11:51 AM July 04, 11:51 AM

Submarine company OceanGate began the first of many weeklong missions on Tuesday to take tourists to the wreck of the Titanic as the famous ship decays into the sea.

The ocean liner, once thought to be unsinkable, is being eaten by metal-consuming bacteria, causing it to deteriorate. The expedition is part of a yearslong campaign from OceanGate to monitor the ship’s deterioration.

“This longitudinal survey to collect images, videos, laser, and sonar data will allow objective assessment of the rate of decay and documentation of the process,” the company said.

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On a passage from England to America in 1912, the RMS Titanic hit an iceberg off the coast of Newfoundland, causing it to sink. The ship did not have enough lifeboats or an adequate evacuation plan as designers and owners believed they were unnecessary. The sinking resulted in 1,496 deaths.

A diving expedition in 2019, the first in 14 years, discovered the ship’s remarkable state of decay. The captain’s bathtub is completely gone, as is the deckhouse on the side of the ship.

Starting this week, OceanGate will bring Titanic enthusiasts to see the wreck while they monitor its decay.

The company had nine “Mission Specialist” positions to fill before the start of the expedition. These positions were open to most of the public, mainly those 18 years of age or older who can survive a week at sea and fit into small submersibles. OceanGate was responsible for training the specialists for a fee of $150,000 per person.

The mission’s 29-person crew embarked Tuesday on the 40-hour maritime journey from St. John’s, Newfoundland, to the site of the wreck. They brought with them OceanGate’s Titan, a five-person submarine that will aid in the expedition.

“The technology used for deep sea exploration has come a long way since the last remotely operated vehicles visited the wreck. Titan is equipped with the latest laser, sonar, and 4K camera equipment to survey and document the shipwreck at the highest resolution to date. Mission Specialists and Content Experts will use these technologies to collect data and images that will be merged into a virtual 3D model of the wreck site,” the company said.

Occupants of the submersible have an air supply that lasts for 72 hours.

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OceanGate’s next Titanic mission will commence on Monday.

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