OceanGate set a deep-diving record last week when a crew of four rode inside the Everett, Wash.-based company’s Titan submersible to the Titanic-level depth of 3,760 meters (12,336 feet) in the Bahamas.
The April 17 voyage, which served as a test run for this summer’s trips to the wreck of the Titanic, marked the first time a non-military submersible carried more than three people to that depth, OceanGate said.
“This dive was another important step toward deep-sea exploration to more people and places,” OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, who served as Titan’s chief pilot for the trip, said today in a news release. “We are developing technologies and designing submersibles and infrastructure that is making underwater exploration more accessible than ever before.”
Everett, Wash.-based OceanGate is heading back down to the Bahamas next week to practice deep-sea dives of Titanic proportions with its next-generation Titan submersible — and this time, team members are bringing along paying customers.
About 10 mission specialists wll accompany OceanGate’s team for rehearsals that will involve sending Titan down to depths of nearly 4,000 meters (13,000 feet). That’s as far down as the famous wreck of the Titanic lies in the North Atlantic.
This month’s rehearsal follows up on a series of deep dives done by OceanGate last year. The plan doesn’t call for mission specialists to climb into the submersible this time around, OceanGate marketing manager Dana Hall told GeekWire. Instead, they’ll be on the R/V Angari, the expedition’s tracking and communications ship.
The goal is to familiarize at least some of OceanGate’s customers with the duties they’ll be performing when Titan and its support vessels head up to Newfoundland for 10-day voyages to the Titanic site that are due to start in June.
FRIDAY HARBOR, Wash. — This week’s Salish Sea Expedition is unfolding amid the heavily trafficked waters off the San Juan Islands, but there’s still plenty of room here for scientific discoveries.
For example, researchers riding a deep-water submersible called Cyclops 1 announced that they discovered a new low for the feeding grounds of a prickly marine species known as the red sea urchin.
“We extended the range of red urchins to 284 meters,” Alex Lowe, a marine biologist at the University of Washington, proudly declared at UW’s Friday Harbor Laboratories, which is serving as the base of operations for this week’s expedition.
The expedition aims to assess the health of the habitats and species in the Salish Sea, a body of water that takes in the coastal waterways around the U.S.-Canadian border, from the Strait of Georgia to Puget Sound. The Salish Sea offers a rich ecosystem as well as a tourist destination and an increasingly busy shipping lane, but its murky waters make it challenging to study in depth — and at depth.
To remedy that, the expedition’s organizers are making use of Cyclops 1, a five-person craft that can descend far deeper than scuba divers go.
The survey expedition is a joint undertaking that involves scientists from the UW and other research institutions, with support from the non-profit SeaDoc Society and the OceanGate Foundation. Everett, Wash.-based OceanGate, which built Cyclops 1, is playing the lead role in getting the researchers to their underwater destinations.
OceanGate had to put off its plan to send a new breed of submersible to the wreck of the Titanic this summer, but now it’s gearing up for an undersea adventure closer to home.
The Everett, Wash.-based venture and its associated not-for-profit outreach organization, the OceanGate Foundation, are teaming up with the SeaDoc Societyfor an expedition in September.
During a weeklong series of dives in OceanGate’s Cyclops 1 submersible, researchers will study the ecosystem of the Salish Sea, the network of U.S.-Canadian coastal waterways that include Washington state’s Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the San Juan Islands as well as British Columbia’s Gulf Islands and the Strait of Georgia.
“Just like the space shuttle provided a unique perspective for scientists to understand space, Cyclops 1 provides our only opportunity for direct human observation of these deep-sea environments,” SeaDoc science director Joe Gaydos said in a news release.
OceanGate successfully lowered its Titan submersible to a depth of 4,000 meters in waters off the coast of the Bahamas, during a series of uncrewed dives aimed at testing the integrity of the craft’s carbon-fiber hull. The Everett, Wash.-based team lowered the sub on a monofilament line on June 25 while sensors measured the strain on the hull. OceanGate CEO and chief pilot Stockton Rush will conduct solo dives later this summer in preparation for five-person dives to the wreck of the Titanic in the North Atlantic next June. The 4,000-meter milestone is significant because that’s how deep the Titanic is.
OceanGate is putting its underwater trips to the Titanic shipwreck on hold for a year, due to difficulties encountered during deep-water testing of its submersible in the Bahamas.
The Titan sub’s first trips to the world’s most famous shipwreck had been set to start next month in the North Atlantic. This week, team leaders at the Everett, Wash.-based venture decided they couldn’t make the schedule.
“While we are disappointed by the need to reschedule the expedition, we are not willing to shortcut the testing process due to a condensed timeline,” OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush said today in a news release. “We are 100 percent committed to safety, and want to fully test the sub and validate all operational and emergency procedures before launching any expedition.”
Making the decision now gives advance notice for OceanGate’s clients, crew members, partners and affiliates to make other plans for the summer, Rush said.
OceanGate has finished putting its Titan submersible through its first round of shallow-water tests in Puget Sound, and is packing it up for deep-water tests in the Bahamas. Then it’s off to the Titanic.
The OceanGate team custom-designed the 22-foot-long craft to take up to five people to a depth of 13,000 feet, with the objective of studying one of the world’s most famous shipwrecks starting in June.
Construction was completed in January, and for the past several weeks, the company has been taking Titan out from its homebase marina in Everett, Wash., for dives of up to 100 feet.
“It’s going well,” said Stockton Rush, OceanGate’s CEO and Titan’s chief test pilot.
Don’t call it Cyclops 2: The five-person submersible built by Everett, Wash.-based OceanGate has been renamed Titan, befitting its role as a vehicle designed to get up close to the Titanic’s shipwreck.
Today OceanGate announced that it has launched Titan for its initial rounds of in-the-water tests at Everett’s marina. Shallow-water trials are due to continue in Puget Sound through March.
Titan is scheduled to undergo deep-sea certification dives in the Bahamas in April. That will be when OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush first pilots the vessel to Titanic-level depths of 4,000 meters (13,000 feet).
Construction work is complete for an essential part of the dive system that’s due to carry scientists and amateur adventurers down to the world-famous Titanic shipwreck this summer.
The nearly 11-ton mobile subsea platform will be used to launch a five-person submersible into the depths of the Atlantic Ocean, and bring it back to the surface at the end of each dive.
Everest Marine. a division of Burlington, Wash.-based Penn Cove Shellfish, spent five months on the custom fabrication of the 38-foot-long aluminum platform. It’s designed to be used with the Cyclops 2 deep-sea submersible that’s been assembled by OceanGate at its headquarters in Everett, Wash.
The submersible and its platform are due to go through a round of shallow-water dives in Puget Sound this month, followed by deep-water testing in the Bahamas in April.
Those tests will lead up to the inaugural Titanic campaign in June, which will make a series of dives to the ship’s remains, 13,000 feet beneath the surface of the North Atlantic.
OceanGate is in the midst of a $5.1 million investment round aimed at pushing the Everett, Wash.-based company closer to a Titanic undersea adventure.
The round was reported today in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Joel Perry, OceanGate’s director of media and marketing, told GeekWire that the privately held company’s existing investors have already filled out much of the funding. He declined to identify the investors.
The money will give OceanGate “a little more runway” as it finishes work on its Cyclops 2 deep-sea submersible, Perry said.