Titan Submarine#Titan Submarine

On the morning of June 18, 2023, at 9:30 AM, the Titan Submarine embarked on its voyage, plunging into the ocean depths with five passengers onboard. As it descended 13,000 feet below, the connection with the ship on the surface was lost roughly 1 hour and 45 minutes into the journey. But no immediate search was initiated. Why? 

Let’s delve into the details. What happens exactly on the Titan Submarine?

No immediate rescue attempts were made after the connection was lost because this wasn’t an unprecedented event for the submarine’s inventor. In the past, the submarine had experienced similar disruptions. However, when the Titan Submarine didn’t surface by its scheduled time of 3 PM, a full-fledged search operation was initiated. With planes, ships, remotely operated underwater vehicles, and a specialized team in tow, they discovered that the submarine had suffered a catastrophic implosion and was crushed.

Shockingly, in the past decade, this very submarine had successfully dived deep into the ocean about 200 times and had even made 12 trips near the Titanic wreck. So, what went wrong this time?

Previously, the submarine had a circular shape which evenly distributed the water pressure. However, to maximize profits by accommodating more passengers, its shape was redesigned to a cylindrical form. While initially, only two passengers could fit, now it had space for four to five. The fare per person was increased from 86 lakhs to a whopping 2 crores.

Another critical issue was the material used. Typically, submarines are made of titanium, a robust material. However, the Titan Submarine was only titanium in name; most parts used carbon fiber. Passengers who had previously traveled in it, like David Pogue, equated the experience to “borderline suicidal.” He reported that the equipment inside was pretty basic, and the submarine’s remote control resembled a video game controller. Out of their six-hour journey, they lost connection for five hours.

Had the company heeded the warnings of their former engineer in 2018, this could have been avoided. During tests at 4,000 feet, cracks appeared in parts of the submarine. The engineer had even mentioned that it might not withstand depths greater than 3,000 feet. But instead of addressing the concerns, the company’s CEO fired him.

Titan Submarine
#Titan Submarine

Ocean Gate, the company behind the Titan Submarine, hadn’t even secured the necessary safety certification for such expeditions. When the CEO was questioned, he would often argue that such certifications hinder rapid innovation. To date, only ten submarines have the certificate to dive up to 13,000 feet – and the Titan Submarine wasn’t one of them.

US Coast Guard’s analysis of sonar data indicated that the submarine faced a catastrophic implosion at around 13,000 feet underwater. At such depths, water pressure intensifies to nearly 350 times the normal, instantly crushing any human inside — a tragic piece of news.

Protests erupted against the company, but they had all passengers sign a waiver, absolving them of any mishap responsibilities. One of the five passengers on board was also the company’s CEO, who frequently joined such expeditions. The Titan Submarine was still in its testing phase, and the CEO believed there was room for improvement.

Conclusion: The tragic fate of the Titan Submarine serves as a sobering reminder of the consequences of overlooking safety protocols in the pursuit of innovation. While technological advancements can pave the way for great achievements, ensuring the safety and well-being of all involved remains paramount.

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