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Missing "Titanic" Submersible - Update

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

June 20, 2023

Copyright chocolatefather/AdobeStock

Copyright chocolatefather/AdobeStock

A five-person submersible vessel taking wealthy adventurers on a $250,000 trip to see the wreckage of the 1912 Titanic disaster 12,500 feet (3,800m) undersea is missing in the Atlantic off Canada.

Reuters is reporting the following individuals onboard:

  • HAMISH HARDING. The British billionaire and chairman of aviation consultancy Action Aviation is among those missing, according to his stepson. Dubai-based Harding had posted on social media that he was proud to be heading to the Titanic as a "mission specialist", adding: "Due to the worst winter in Newfoundland in 40 years, this mission is likely to be the first and only manned mission to the Titanic in 2023. A weather window has just opened up and we are going to attempt a dive tomorrow." In 2016, Harding accompanied former astronaut Buzz Aldrin to the South Pole, when Aldrin became the oldest person ever to reach the Antarctic region, at 86. Harding was also on board the 2019 "One More Orbit" flight mission that set a record for the fastest circumnavigation of earth by aircraft over both geographic poles.

  • SHAHZADA DAWOOD and his son SULEMAN. Their family have confirmed they are on board. Shahzada is vice chairman of one of Pakistan's largest conglomerates, Engro Corporation, with investments in fertilizers, vehicle manufacturing, energy and digital technologies. According to the website of SETI, a California-based research institute of which he is a trustee, he lives in Britain with his wife and two children.

  • PAUL-HENRI NARGEOLET. The 77-year-old French explorer, whom media say is one of the five on board, is director of underwater research at a company that owns the rights to the Titanic wreck. A former commander in the French Navy, he was both a deep diver and a mine sweeper. After retiring from the navy, he led the first recovery expedition to the Titanic in 1987 and is a leading authority on the wreck site. In a 2020 interview with France Bleu radio, he spoke of the dangers of deep diving, saying: "I am not afraid to die, I think it will happen one day."

  • STOCKTON RUSH. The founder and CEO of the vessel's U.S.-based operating company OceanGate is also on the submersible, according to media reports. "It is an amazingly beautiful wreck," Rush told Britain's Sky news of the Titanic earlier this year. "You can see inside, we dipped down and saw the grand staircase and saw some of the chandeliers still hanging."

Based in Everett in Washington State, OceanGate says it uses next generation crewed submersibles and launch platforms to increase deep ocean access as far as 4,000 metres. According to its website, "OceanGate has successfully completed over 14 expeditions and over 200 dives in the Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico."

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(Reuters - Reporting by Ariba Shahid in Karachi, Kate Holton, Dominique Vidalon, Yousef Saba; Writing by Andrew Cawthorne; Editing by Christina Fincher, Alexandra Hudson)