Missing Titanic sub: International search effort continues as oxygen levels run low

Submersible lost contact during dive on Sunday off coast of Newfoundland


An international search effort was continuing on Tuesday for a missing submersible near the wreck of the Titanic in a race against time as oxygen levels run out. Authorities from Canada and the United States have deployed specialised aircraft and ships to search for the five people aboard a 6.4-metre (20ft) vessel, called Titan, that lost contact about one hour and 45 minutes into a planned dive Sunday, nearly 640km (400 miles) off the coast of Newfoundland.


It costs €250,000 to dive to the wreck of the Titanic. Five people can fit in it - a pilot and four passengers. For that money, passengers are required to sit on the floor with limited room to move around. There is sufficient oxygen for 96 hours.

At the front of the vessel is a large domed porthole offering a viewing point, which the company claims is the “largest viewport of any deep-sea manned submersible”.

The walls of the sub are also heated as conditions can become extremely cold at such depths. Wall-mounted lamps are the only source of light on board.

Unusually though, it includes a private toilet for customers at the front of the sub. A small curtain is pulled across when it is in use and the pilot turns up some onboard music.

However, the company’s website does recommend “you restrict your diet before and during the dive to reduce the likelihood that you will need to use the facilities”.


“We offer our most heartfelt thoughts and prayers for the five crew members, their families and their loved ones,” coast guard captain Jamie Frederick told reporters. “Our crews are working around the clock to ensure that we are doing everything possible to locate the Titan and the five crew members. I want to reiterate this is a very complex search and the unified team is working around the clock to bring all available assets and expertise to bear as quickly as possible in an effort to solve a very complex problem.”


The five member crew of the Titan submersible has approximately 40 hours left before their oxygen run out, the US Coastguard sear announced.

Captain Jamie Frederick of the US’s First Coastguard District said a unified command has been set up with expertise from the US Navy and Coastguard, the Canadian Navy and Coastguard and OceanGate, the company that owns Titan.

The Titan has been lost since Sunday afternoon since it set out to dive to the wreck of the Titanic. The alert had been raised by the submersible’s transport ship the Polar Prince which lost contact with it an hour and 45 minutes into the dive.

“To date those search efforts have not yielded any results,” Captain Frederick admitted. The vessel Deep Energy, a pipe-laying vessel, has arrived on the scene with underwater searching capability. It has rendezvoused with the Polar Prince and has begun a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) dive to the last known position of the Titan and the approximate position of the Titanic wreck.

An additional Canadian P3 aircraft has conducted a six hour search of the area and further search planes will be out this afternoon. Several Canadian coastguard vessels are also en-oute to the site.

The US Navy is working the US Transportation command to bring more “capable assets” to the area and will be based out of St John, Newfoundland.

When asked if there is any possibility of rescuing the people on board, Captain Frederick responded: “All our efforts are focused on finding the sub. What I will tell you is that we have a group of our nation’s best experts in the unified command. If we get to that point, those experts will be looking at what the next course of action is.”


How hard can it be to see a small submarine in the Atlantic Ocean? Very hard, according to BBC documentary maker Simon Platts who has made a documentary about Titan. He said if the vessel was on the water surface it would be really hard to spot as only the very tip of it is visible. He described it as a “very small thing in a big ocean” because only the top of the sub floats above the sea level, he said. The director of the BBC’s Travel Show said he couldn’t even spot the sub when they were right next to it and somebody had to point it out.

This is what the interior of the Titan looks like. Hardly room to swing a cat.


France will send a ship equipped with a deep-sea diving vessel to the rescue operation following the disappearance of the submersible, the French education ministry said on Tuesday.

The ship, called the Atalante, is managed by the Ifremer research institute which acts under the ministry’s authority.


The family of missing British billionaire Hamish Harding have said they have “great faith and trust” in the rescue teams.

A statement from private plane firm Action Aviation, of which Mr Harding is chairman, said: “Both the Harding family and the team at Action Aviation are very grateful for all the kind messages of concern and support from our friends and colleagues.

“We are thankful for the continued efforts of the authorities and companies that have stepped in to aid in the rescue efforts. We put great faith and trust in their expertise,” it added.


According to an update from the US Coast Guard, a Canadian aircraft, known as P3 Aurora, has arrived on scene to conduct sonar searches.

“The R/V Polar Prince and R/V Deep Energy are continuing their surface searches. Total search area completed as of this morning is 10,000 square miles,” the coast guard said in a post on Twitter.


James Cleverly, the UK’s Foreign Secretary, has addressed the search for missing Titan, stating the government’s thoughts were with the passengers on board the vessel.

“We wish them all the luck and of course we hope that they will be swiftly found and returned to their loved ones,” he said during a news briefing on Ukraine in London


Former Ulster Unionist party leader Steve Aiken knows a thing or two about submarines having been a Royal Navy sub-mariner for two decades. Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, he said conditions inside the submersible would be extremely challenging.

“It would certainly be a very harrowing experience for those involved and my thoughts and prayers are with them,” he said.

“The submersible itself is a fairly basic vessel. It would be small and cramped and, at that depth, extremely dark. First of all, those on board would be trying to conserve their oxygen as much as possible, but it would also be extremely important to make sure the atmosphere is under control.” You can read the full report here.


Deep sea-mapping company Magellan, most famously known for its one-of-a-kind deep sea imagery of the Titanic, is fighting against the clock to try and get involved in the search and rescue efforts underway to locate the submersible that’s been missing in the Atlantic since Sunday—but a key transport issue holding them back.

Magellan Chair David Thompson told CNN that his team is familiar with the site of the wreck and is willing to help “by all means necessary — time is of the essence.”

But it needs an aircraft — specifically, a C-17 Globemaster III military cargo jet — with the ability to transport its deep-sea diving equipment, which is located in the UK, and deliver it to Canada in order to launch its operation. Thus far it has heard back from neither country as to whether or not one would be made available.


Authorities are expanding their search into deeper waters for a submersible that disappeared while taking wealthy tourists to the Titanic wreckage off the coast of Canada, a U.S. Coast Guard official said on Tuesday.

“As we continue on with this search ... we’ve been working through the night with a broad group of partners to bring all capabilities to bear looking on both the surface and now expanding to a subsurface in the area,” U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral John Mauger told CNN in an interview.


What might have happened to the Titan? The scenarios do not look good, according to Professor Alistair Greig from University College London.

Professor Greig, who is Professor of Marine Engineering, is a world-authority of submarine design. He told the BBC that there are two possible scenarios. One is that the submarine got into difficult released a “drop weight” after an emergency and floated to the surface. But, if it has surfaced, where is it? The second more serious scenario is that there was a leak in the hull and it has sunk to the bottom of the ocean. In such a scenario, it is highly unlikely that it can be lifted from the ocean floor. The situation is very serious.


Here’s the text of David Concannon’s Facebook text. It couldn’t be more explicit.

Important message from David Concannon, “Dear Friends,Re: Titanic. As I posted last week I was supposed to be on this expedition and, indeed, on this dive, but I had to cancel to attend to another urgent client matter. Last night, I was called and asked to provide whatever assistance I could to ensure the safe return of everyone in the sub. Of course, I immediately agreed.I know you are concerned for the safety of me and everyone at sea, but PLEASE STOP calling, texting, messaging, sending carrier pigeons and all other forms of communication during this critical time. You are interfering with more important communications that need to be made to resolve this situation as quickly and as safely as possible. Thank you!


A man who said he was supposed to be onboard the Titan while travelling to the Titanic wreckage on Sunday is now helping rescue efforts.

David Concannon, an adviser to OceanGate Expeditions, the vessel’s operator, had to pull out due to a work commitment.

He wrote on a Facebook page called Titanic Book Club on Monday that: “As I posted last week I was supposed to be on this expedition and, indeed, on this dive, but I had to cancel to attend to another urgent client matter.”

He added: “Last night, I was called and asked to provide whatever assistance I could to ensure the safe return of everyone in the sub. Of course, I immediately agreed.”


I am proud to finally announce that I joined OceanGate Expeditions for their RMS TITANIC Mission as a mission specialist...

Posted by Hamish Harding on Saturday, June 17, 2023

Hamish Harding wrote a Facebook post on Sunday about participating in the Titanic dive


Who are the five men missing on the Titan submarine?

They are British billionaire Hamish Harding who is the chair of the private plane firm Action Aviation. Harding is like a character out of Boy’s Own. He has been been to space on board Blue Origin’s human-crewed and set three world records - including the longest time spent at full ocean depth during a dive to the deepest part of the Mariana Trench..

The rest of the crew is Pakistani billionaire businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son Sulaiman Dawood, Paul Henry Nargeolet, a former French navy commander, deep diver and a submersible pilot and Stockton Rush, the chief executive and founder of OceanGate Expeditions, the company that organised the mission to the wreck of the Titanic.


A missing submersible near the wreck of the Titanic has kicked off a frantic international search and left the deep sea exploration community “shattered”, a famed Canadian scientist and veteran explorer has said.

“This is the day that we have been fearing for a long, long time – when you lose a sub in really deep water,” Joe MacInnis, a member of the first expedition to locate the wreck of the Titanic in 1985, told the Guardian on Monday night. “It doesn’t look good.”

Authorities from Canada and the United States have deployed specialised aircraft and ships to search for the five people aboard a 6.4-metre (20ft) vessel, called Titan, that lost contact about one hour and 45 minutes into a planned dive Sunday, nearly 640km (400 miles) off the coast of Newfoundland.

OceanGate Expeditions, the US company that owns the submersible, said it was “exploring all options” to bring the crew back safely.

US and Canadian aircraft are searching the area but the hunt is “complex” because crews do not know if the vessel has surfaced or if it is still at the bottom of the ocean.

The crew have between 70 to 96 hours of air, officials overseeing the search attempt believe.

The challenges of finding a submarine at the bottom of the oceans are immense here.