OceanGate selects support ship for sub trips to the Titanic

OceanGate Expeditions will use the offshore support vessel Horizon Arctic during expeditions to the Titanic. (OceanGate Photo)

Everett, Wash.-based OceanGate Expeditions has taken one more giant leap toward sending its submersible to the world’s most famous shipwreck, with the selection of the expedition’s support vessel.

The Canadian-owned, 93.6-meter (307-foot) Horizon Arctic will serve as the seagoing base of operations for the Titan submersible’s trips to the Titanic wreck site in the North Atlantic, starting in June.

“For this expedition, in one of the world’s harshest marine environments, we have selected a superior vessel, with outstanding features such as low-emissions hybrid propulsion, full redundancies and the highest standard of accommodations for our crew and mission specialists,” Stockton Rush, OceanGate Expeditions’ president, said today in a news release.

“Our focus has been on identifying a vessel and crew uniquely qualified in deep subsea operations with a commitment to putting safety first,” Rush said. “We have found that in the crew of the Horizon Arctic.”

Sean Leet, CEO of Horizon Maritime, said he was looking forward to conducting the operation from the company’s home port in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

“While we have supported many complex subsea operations over the years, supporting the team making these dives to the iconic resting place of the Titanic is an exceptional honor,” Leet said.

During a series of dives, OceanGate’s Titan submersible will carry a succession of five-person crews. Each crew will include a pilot and an onboard expert, plus mission specialists who are paying to be part of the mission. OceanGate’s team includes Titanic dive expert Rory Golden and former NASA astronaut Scott Parazynski.

This summer’s six expeditions are meant to kick off a multi-year effort to monitor the condition of the Titanic wreck, which struck an iceberg and sank to a depth of 12,500 feet (3,800 meters) on its first voyage in 1912. More than 1,500 passengers and crews died in the disaster, which has inspired myriad books and movies.

In 2019, Caladan Oceanic’s exploration team took a submersible down to the Titanic site and reported that the shipwreck seemed to be deteriorating rapidly. OceanGate’s team expects to document the progression of the decay over the course of several years, using state-of-the-art cameras and sensors.

Mission specialists can sign up to be considered for future expeditions via OceanGate’s website. The cost to participate is $125,000.

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