Investigators Board Titan’s Mothership Polar Prince To Retrieve Data Records

Canadian research vessel the Polar Prince, which lost touch with the Titan submersible on Sunday, returned to Newfoundland on Saturday with its flags at half mast and was encountered by investigators with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, The New York Times reported.

Per the Times, close ones of the five deceased on the Titan who had been onboard the vessel, owned by the private firm Miawpukek Horizon Maritime Services, were interviewed by the TSBC. At the same time, law enforcement started interviewing crew members and guests as part of its probe into whether or not it should be launching a formal criminal investigation into the ill-fated incident.

Investigators collected information from the voyage data recorder of the vessel, which can also document information such as audio on the vessel, Kathy Fox, the TSBC chair, declared at a press conference.

Titan Sub
The Titan Sub. Image Credit: OceanGate / YouTube

Relevant international bodies like the TSBC and the US Coast Guard are also looking at the lack of safety measures that OceanGate took when the five individuals, including the firm’s CEO Stockton Rush, boarded its sub on Sunday for a trip to the sunken Titanic.

Relevant officials say that the submersible lost touch with the Polar Prince within some hours after it began its descent and most probably imploded, near instantly killing all on board.

During a press conference on Saturday, Kent Osmond, RCMP’s Superintendent, said there is no suspicion of criminal activity per se. However, law enforcement is not entirely ruling it out.

Following the failure, increased scrutiny was given by dive experts, media, and investigators on the years of statements made by the firm disregarding necessary certifications and regulations before the expedition last week.

And as Rush complained about the industry being “obscenely safe”, his firm encountered a previous safety lawsuit from one of its former employees.

Stories of those who participated in earlier dives raised some safety concerns. A friend of Rush informed the CEO after a 2019 dive in the Titan that he could hear cracking noises he attributed to a “defect/flaw in an area”, per emails seen by CNN.

And on Friday, Jake Koehler, a YouTuber on the sub days before the final voyage on Sunday, shared footage of Rush talking about issues with the sub’s control systems.

A co-founder of OceanGate, Guillermo Söhnlein, defended the firm’s record, saying that ocean dives need to come with some risks. However, specialists have disputed this, mentioning that the disaster was preventable.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada and RCMP did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comments.

References: The Guardian, Insider

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