Graphic recalls the sinking of the Titanic, with details on how the new expeditions will be carried out.
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MARITIME

Weekly Titanic dives start May 2021

By Ninian Carter

October 29, 2020 - Manned submersibles company, OceanGate, is planning tourist dives to RMS Titanic, allowing up to three passengers to descend in its Titan sub.

From May to September, beginning in 2021, OceanGate plans to dive the wreck of the Titanic ocean liner, which sank after hitting an iceberg in 1912, killing more than 1,500 passengers and crew.

The firm intends to dive 18 times during this annual five-month window, taking three passengers, or as they call them "citizen scientists", with them each time. The ticket price for the trip is $125,000, which covers an eight-day sail from St. John’s, Newfoundland in Canada and a single 6-8 hour dive.

A new "Titan" submersible will carry a pilot, scientist-researcher and three passengers down to the wreck, some 3,800 metres below the surface. If all goes as planned, they will become the first guests to visit the wreck in 15 years.

The Titan sub has been designed by Boeing and NASA, the tubular hull of which is largely made from carbon fibre, with titanium caps at either end. The forward cap features a central 53cm wide acrylic viewport able to allow two people to look out at the same time – hence the sub class is called Cyclops.

The submersible can travel at three knots and descend 50 metres a minute, with propulsion provided by four electric thrusters. Equipment includes powerful search lights, high-definition cameras, and a laser scanner. The onboard air supply is recycled in a way similar to spacecraft, with even room for a tiny toilet. Interestingly, the pilot steers the sub using a modified PlayStation 4 joypad.

During dives, the passengers will be able to survey the shipwreck and debris field, which is scattered across 86 square kilometres, as well as help OceanGate with its overall objective to scan the entire wreck site – the ultimate goal being to create a photorealistic virtual 3D model of the shipwreck before it's gone.

The company says the Titanic wreck is decaying rapidly with only a finite number of years left before it crumbles into the ocean floor.

PUBLISHED: 29/10/2020; STORY: Graphic News
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