About the Titanic Tourist Vessel That Vanished in the North Atlantic

From a story on axios.com by Rebecca Falconer and Sri Ravipati headlined “What to know about Titanic tourist vessel that vanished in North Atlantic”:

A tourist submersible has gone missing while on a diving trip to the wreck of the Titanic, sparking a massive search and rescue operation in the North Atlantic that entered a third day Tuesday.

What we’re watching: The U.S. Coast Guard said at a Tuesday news conference afternoon that the vessel carrying five people had an estimated 40 hours of air left from the sub’s capacity to hold up to 96 hours of oxygen.

“The U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, Canadian Coast Guard and OceanGate Expeditions have established a unified command to continue its response to the 21-foot submersible research vessel, Titan, from the Research Vessel Polar Prince that went missing Sunday evening,” per a statement late Tuesday. They’ve searched some 10,000 square miles looking for the Titan.

“This is a complex search effort which requires multiple agencies with subject matter expertise and specialized equipment which we have gained through the unified command,” said Capt. Jamie Frederick, the response coordinator from the First Coast Guard District in the statement.

Zoom in: The five people onboard the sub have been identified as:

Stockton Rush, the CEO of OceanGate Expeditions. He went on as a member of the crew, a company spokesperson told Axios.

Hamish Harding, a British businessman. The Guinness World Records holder wrote in an Instagram post Saturday: “Due to the worst winter in Newfoundland in 40 years, this mission is likely to be the first and only manned mission to the Titanic in 2023.”

Paul-Henri Nargeolet, a maritime explorer, per Harding’s post.

Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman, from Pakistan, AP reports.

State of play: U.S. Coast Guard officials said Monday the Canadian support boat Polar Prince lost contact with the vessel one hour and 45 minutes into the dive on Sunday afternoon and it was reported overdue some 900 miles off Massachusetts’ Cape Cod.

OceanGate Expeditions, which runs tours to the Titanic wreck that’s laid on the ocean floor in 12,500 feet of water some 370 miles off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada, since it sank in 1912, said in a statement Monday it’s “mobilizing all options to bring the crew back safely.”

Rear Adm. John Mauger, commander of the First Coast Guard District, which is leading the search from Boston with assistance from military aircraft and the Canadian Coast Guard, said at a news conference Sunday it’s “a challenge to conduct a search” in such a remote area.

French President Emmanuel Macron directed the research ship Atalante to join the search and it’s expected to arrive in the region about 8pm Wednesday, Hervé Berville, France’s secretary of state in charge of sea, told BFMTV.

The big picture: OceanGate was founded in 2009 and is headquartered in Everett, Washington, according to the privately owned company’s website.

Rush told CBS News in November that OceanGate charges $250,000 per person for the eight-day expedition — which he said attracts Titanic enthusiasts, known as “Titaniacs,” some of whom had mortgaged their homes to go on the trip.

Between the lines: “The difference between a submarine and a submersible is a submarine has enough power to leave port and come back to port under its own power,” said Edith Widder, a former senior scientist at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, in NOAA video.

“A submersible has very limited power reserves so it needs a mother ship that can launch it and recover it.”

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