Titan Submersible Was Without Essential Navigation Technology

In August 2021, a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) named Hercules, designed for deep-sea exploration, lost its connection with its parent ship. Despite this, due to its advanced location technology, researchers were able to pinpoint its exact location within a day. This incident highlights the importance of such technology in deep-sea exploration, as it could have significantly altered the outcome of the search for the missing OceanGate’s Titan submersible.

The Titan, carrying five passengers, descended to view the Titanic wreck but went missing. The U.S. Coast Guard later found debris, including Titan’s tail cone, near the Titanic wreck. Unfortunately, none of the passengers could have survived the implosion that likely caused the debris. If the Titan had been equipped with the same location technology as Hercules, the search for it could have been expedited.

Pablo Sobron, a lead scientist of a new deep-sea mission, emphasizes that human life is paramount in any exploration. He points out that class-certified vehicles, like Hercules, must meet several requirements, including having recovery beacons. The Titan, however, did not seem to have this standard location technology. OceanGate, the company that owned and operated Titan, reportedly did not comply with industry standards and had been warned about the potential dangers of non-compliance.

William Ryan, a Columbia University oceanographer, explains that recovery of deep-sea instruments from the seabed is routine when the precise position is known. He criticizes the fact that the Titan did not have an independently powered acoustic pinger and radio beacon for geolocation, calling it a fault of the operators. These devices are crucial for determining the direction, distance, and depth of a submersible.

The incident with the Titan serves as a stark reminder of the inherent dangers of deep-sea exploration and the importance of adhering to standard safety protocols.

Kernel Reporter

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