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Everett-based company finishes submarine to be used for Titanic expedition

Everett-based OceanGate just finished building the submersible they plan to take to the Titanic wreckage in June. (Photo: KOMO News)

EVERETT, Wash. - Everett-based OceanGate just finished building the submersible they plan to take to the Titanic wreckage in June.

'Titan' was designed to dive about 4,000 meters (Titanic sits about 3,800 meters below the ocean surface).

It has a carbon fiber structure, replacing the steel hull of its predecessor.

“The strength, weight and buoyancy that we get out of it exceeds really any other material out there,” Director of Engineering Tony Nissen said.

Nissen said the vessel will feel about 150 million pounds of force from the water near the ocean floor. But the team inside won’t feel a thing.

Five crewmembers will squeeze into the submersible on each dive, which typically last about eight hours.

The crew can view the wreckage through several monitors inside the vessel.

The pilot uses a PlayStation controller to operate Titan.

Over six weeks of dives, Titan’s laser scanners and high definition cameras will map the Titanic.

The crew hopes to learn more about life in the early 20th century as they search through the wreckage.

They’ll also look at the ship’s decay over the past century.

It’s part of a larger project by OceanGate to study the effect of shipwrecks on our oceans.

“This is critically important when you realize that there are tens of thousands of shipwrecks from World War II, many of which sank with toxic chemicals and fuel oil on board,” OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush said.

This will be the first manned submersible dive to the Titanic since 2005.

54 paying civilians will accompany OceanGate’s team on the expedition. One will join the Titan crew on each dive. These “mission specialists” paid $105,129, the inflation-adjusted cost of a first class ticket on the Titanic.

OceanGate hopes these expeditions help raise awareness about ocean explorations.

The final pieces will be put on Titan this week. Then practice dives begin in the Puget Sound and will eventually move to the Bahamas in the Spring.

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