Anyone following the submersible lost near the Titanic?

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by Seattle, Jun 20, 2023.

  1. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Interesting comments from James Cameron (who has made 35 dives to Titanic and also reached the deepest point in the ocean in a one-man submersible) and Bob Ballard (who found the wreckage of Titantic, among many other notable acheivements) on this.
     
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  3. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    You didn't include the rest of my post. I finished that sentence with the fact that people are assuming the vessel was safe. In other words, if people knew that the CEO was taking short cuts, and in violation of safety laws, they likely wouldn't have agreed to the ''adventure.'' Even in the safest of vessels, there are risks inherent to something of this magnitude, but the vessel itself should be safe.
     
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  5. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    So here's a question for you.

    Let's say that the waiver they signed was 100% accurate - it stated this submersible had not been tested to any standard, it was a new design, it was not known to be safe etc. Should people be allowed to sign that waiver and risk their lives in that way?
     
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  7. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    I see your point, but it's not that simple. Honestly, I'm questioning why this tour was permitted to happen when there were clear safety concerns about ''Titan.'' Rush, OceanGate's CEO, supposedly let a few employees go who raised concerns. Could be for other reasons, but seems coincidental. I'm curious why there wasn't third party oversight with this company, like there's quality assurance oversight with airplane companies, for example.
     
  8. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    What's not that simple? The question was whether someone has a basic right to risk their life on something risky, provided they know what the risks are and have decided to do it anyway.
    What form would that take? A government organization that would fine/arrest people if they weren't using approved designs? An optional club/organization that you can get approvals from if you want them?
     
  9. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    There is no "safe" vessel at that depth. That is the inherent risk. It was experimental and it was basically outside of the usual laws, rules and regulations. I don't agree with that but that is the situation.

    The risks were known, the CEO made that clear to his passengers and he was putting his own life at risk so there was no "scam" going on here. Those weren't regular passengers in the sense of someone signing up for a Carnival cruise. What happened here is likely to happen on one of the "space tourist" Space X (and others) launches as well.

    This whole news story, IMO, was messed up from the start but that's generally what happens where you take a story that requires some critical thinking and/or specialized knowledge and instead you have news anchors with a lot of time to fill and no specialized knowledge telling the story. It's also misleading when you bring on read Admirals and ex-submariners but then you realize that most of them acknowledged that they didn't know the specific design specs of the Titan. Some didn't know it had scrubbers and pingers. It would have been great if at least one new source had gotten the exact specs of the Titan and then had a qualified person go over it.

    I am surprised that no one seems to spend a little time researching the specific facts and then laying those out. They would have come to the conclusion that it imploded and in the alternative if it didn't but something else happened it still would have been all over in about 24 hours.

    Yet, the news became a countdown timer to 96 hours based on the oxygen supply.

    The facts (as far as I can tell) is that the Titan did have c02 scrubbers but they relied on power and it did have location pingers attached (which have their own independent power source).

    Therefore, when communications were suddenly lost, that's no big deal for a short period of time but when they aren't reestablished after a few hours, it's a very big deal. When you combine that with Titan not coming back to the surface, that makes it likely that it was an implosion. When you consider that the pings stopped at the same time that communications were lost, that's makes it almost certain that it was an implosion. People should have realized that by Monday.

    If power was lost and it didn't show up on the surface some said, well maybe it got stuck on the wreck. It's highly unlikely that they would get stuck and lose communications at the same time and that the pingers would also stop.

    Yet the story continued to be of people stuck in a dark, powerless submersible trying to conserve oxygen and banging on the hull (carbon fibre). Without power the scrubbers don't work so it makes no sense to keep talking about having oxygen for 96 hours when you would die from too much co2 within about 24 hours. I think there are designs that don't rely on power but Titan didn't have those. I think there was even an article pointing out that fact, that the CEO rejected that design.

    The reality is that from the start it was 95% probably that it was an implosion and if that wasn't the case and it was just a case of no power then they only had another 24 hours.

    Just knowing that communications and the pingers stopped at the same time indicated implosion, which was known from the start but no one ran with that story.

    Unique design is a function of the money source and this company wasn't funded like NASA. He tried something new and failed. He paid for it with his life and the lives of others.

    Even the first submersible to the Marianas Trench in the early 60's, which had a double pane glass (?) design developed a sudden crack as they neared the bottom. They (2 people) decided to continue and the inner held. They got to the bottom, stirred up so much silt that they could see little and had to come back up.

    There isn't a "safe" way to do this so you have to access the risk/reward proposition individually.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2023
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  10. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    The Wall Street Journal is reporting today that "Naval officials" told them that the US Navy's undersea network of hydrophones, designed to listen for submarines, detected sounds consistent with an explosion or implosion from the vicinity of the Titanic wreck, not long (a few hours) after Titan submerged. This information was promptly shared with the joint US/Canadian incident command, which decided to continue the search because the Navy wasn't sure at the time what they had heard. The Navy also asked that the information not be shared with the media because the hydrophone network (its capabilities if not its existence) are secret.

    So as Seattle says, I think that they had a pretty good idea what had happened from very early in this thing. But they felt that they had to continue the search on the chance the submariners were still alive.
     
  11. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Doesn't the US government provide oversight to the airplane industry? Something along those lines. You shouldn’t be allowed to build an unsafe “submersible” with the intent of building a business around it by luring in unsuspecting customers.

    https://www.insider.com/oceangate-ceo-stockton-rush-broken-some-rules-titanic-sub-remembered-2023-6

    That said, everyone is responsible for the choices they make. No one forced anyone to buy a spot on Titan. They believed it would be safe though if the CEO himself was going with them. We apparently see this differently.
     
  12. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    They can't sell rides in US waters.
     
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  13. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Ah, gotcha. I’ve assumed that because OceanGate is based out of Everett, Washington, Titan and any other submersibles, would be relegated to US regulations. But, only in US waters. This makes sense now - thanks!
     
  14. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Yes. However, a better example would be skydiving, as you mentioned before - since no one needs to be able to skydive (or go see the Titanic) to be able to travel for work or see family. And 99% of the regulation of skydiving in the US is done by USPA, a civilian (and entirely voluntary) organization. Most drop zones in the US are members, but they don't have to be, and several are very conspicuously not members of USPA. Those DZ's also tend to be less safe. But provided people know that before they jump there, there's nothing inherently wrong with that (IMO.)
    I agree. And provided they are cognizant of the risks, I think they should be able to take them - even if not approved by any government agency.
     
  15. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    I agree with you in that we should all be permitted to take risks, but I don’t think they were aware that the vessel itself wasn’t built to regulations and that the CEO cut corners. I find it hard to believe they would have taken the risk then. That’s just me.
     
  16. Pinball1970 Valued Senior Member

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