James Cameron says he wishes he had raised the alarm over missing submarine

By Rollo Rose and Daniel Trotta

June 22 (Reuters) – Film director and submarine producer James Cameron said on Thursday that he wants to sound the alarm soon about the Titanic submarine that exploded during a trip to the wreck of the Titanic. .

All five crew members of the Titan died.

Cameron became a deep-sea explorer while surveying and filming the Oscar-winning blockbuster „Titanic” in the 1990s, and is co-owner of Triton Submarines, which builds submarines for research and tourism.

It is part of the small, tight-knit submarine community, or unmanned underwater vehicle (MUV) industry. Cameron, like many in the industry, was skeptical that OceanGate Inc was building a deep-sea submarine with a composite of carbon fiber and titanium.

„It seemed like a terrible idea to me. I wish I had been more open, but I assumed someone was smarter than me, you know, because I never tested the technology, but it looked bad at first glance,” Cameron told Reuters in a Zoom interview.

The cause of the Titan’s explosion has yet to be determined, but Cameron believes critics are right to warn that a carbon fiber and titanium hull could allow delamination and microscopic water intrusion, leading to progressive failure over time.

Other industry experts and a whistleblowing employee sounded the alarm in 2018, criticizing OceanGate for choosing not to apply for certification and operating as a test vessel. OceanGate did not respond to inquiries about its decision to drop third-party certification in the industry, such as the American Bureau of Shipping or European firm DNV.

The U.S. Coast Guard said Thursday that it appears the submarine exploded during a trip to the Titanic wreck on the bottom of the North Atlantic, but a final investigation will take time.

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A secret U.S. Navy acoustic detection system „detected an anomaly consistent with an explosion or explosion in the general vicinity of the Titan submarine when communications were cut,” the Navy told the Wall Street Journal.

Cameron said his sources provided similar information and that he knew the sub was missing from the beginning of the four-day ordeal, so he suspected the Titan’s mother ship had exploded by the time it landed. Follow-up, one hour and 45 minutes after the start of the task.

„Within an hour, they confirmed to us that there had been a major accident at the same time that communications with the submarine had been lost. A heavy hit on the hydrophone. Loss of transponder. Loss of communications. I knew what had happened. The submarine had exploded,” Cameron said. He told colleagues in an email on Monday: „We’ve lost some friends” and „now he’s down in pieces.”

According to Cameron, the five deaths were the first deaths in the deep-sea industry.

The industry norm is to make snap-on helmets out of continuous materials such as steel, titanium, ceramic or acrylic, which are ideal for testing, Cameron said.

„We celebrate discoveries, don’t we? But the test vehicle shouldn’t be used to pay passengers who aren’t deep-sea engineers,” Cameron said.

The filmmaker said that both the Titanic and the Titanic tragedy were preceded by warnings that went unheeded. As for the Titanic, despite being warned of icebergs, the captain sped across the Atlantic on a moonless night.

„Here we are again,” Cameron said. „And in the same place. Now there is another wreck for the same bad reason.”

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(Reporting by Rollo Rose and Daniel Trotta; Editing in Spanish by Ricardo Figueroa)

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