Tuesday, October 3, 2023

The Titan Is Running Out of Oxygen. It’s A Race Against Time and Hope Is Running Thin

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The missing Titan with five people aboard has mere hours left before oxygen is depleted in a race against time in a multinational search and rescue in the North Atlantic Ocean.

Rescuers are on their fifth day searching for the crew, hoping to find them alive since oxygen levels may be down by Thursday morning, depending on if the 21-foot vessel still has power and if the missing crew’s mental state is calm.

A Canadian search team using sonar buoys, reported hearing undersea noises on Tuesday and Wednesday but still could not locate the vessel. Experts still could not confirm the cause of the sound, but hoping it was the crew from the submersible.

Even if the Titan was located, retrieving it would be a huge logistical challenge.

The submersible left Sunday to visit the Titanic wreckage, but experts still do not know if it reached the site or if it’s still on the surface of the ocean. A rescue on the ocean floor would have to contend with the intense pressures and total darkness at that depth.  It may also be difficult to find the vessel aming the Titanic wreckage. If the submersible had managed to return to the surface, spotting it would be difficult in the open sea and it is bolted shut from the outside, so those inside cannot exit without help.

The latest development

  • The French research ship L’Atalante which carries a robot is one of the vessels sent to help search efforts. The ROV has a capacity to descend to 6,000 metres and it is connected to its parent ship with a cable eight kilometres (4.9 miles) long.
  • The United States Coast Guard expect to increase its surface vessel to 10 from the 5 it initally had, searching for Titan.
  • The Titan is believed to be about 1,450km (900 miles) east and 640km south of Newfoundland.

The big picture

  • The Titan is the size of a minivan and is operated by U.S.-based OceanGate Expeditions.
  • It began its descent at 8 am on Sunday but lost contact with its support ship near the end of what should have been a two-hour dive to the century-old shipwreck.
  • Pakistani and British nationals Shahzada Dawood and his 19-year-old son Suleman, British adventurer Hamish Harding, OceanGate’s chief executive and founder Stockton Rush and French explorer Paul-Henri Nargeolet, are on the Titan.
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