A “search and rescue operation” is underway off the eastern coast of Canada and the United States, the US Coast Guard has said, after a submersible vessel used to visit the wreckage of the Titanic was reported missing.
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) first reported on Monday morning that the operation was underway off the coast of Canada’s Newfoundland.
Lieutenant Jordan Hart of the US Coast Guard in Boston later told CBS News that personnel were “currently undergoing a search and rescue operation”.
A spokesperson for the Canadian Coast Guard directed Al Jazeera’s inquiries to the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in Boston. The US Coast Guard did not immediately respond to phone and email requests for comment on the operation.
— Ric Ellis (@RicEllis85) June 20, 2023
OceanGate Expeditions, a company based in the US state of Washington that deploys manned submersibles for deep-sea expeditions, told CBS News in a statement that its vessel was the subject of the rescue operation.
Our entire focus is on the crew members in the submersible and their families,” the company said.
OceanGate did not say how many people were on-board the missing submarine, but said it was “deeply thankful for the extensive assistance we have received from several government agencies and deep sea companies in our efforts to reestablish contact with the submersible”.
— OceanGate Expeditions (@OceanGateExped) June 19, 2023
Hamish Harding is one of five people on board the OceanGate submersible in the North Atlantic that has lost contact with the surface, with air running outhttps://t.co/GvLZFdRem9
— The Times and The Sunday Times (@thetimes) June 20, 2023
The wreck of the Titanic lies about 400 miles off the coast of Newfoundland. Without any cell towers in the middle of the ocean, we are relying on @Starlink to provide the communications we require throughout this year’s 2023 Titanic Expedition.
OceanGate tweeted about its 2023 Titanic Expedition on June 16, saying it had been “an incredibly busy two weeks”. On June 14, it also said on Twitter that its crews were relying on Starlink to provide communications in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
It's been an incredibly busy two weeks! Thank you to all of our dive teams who've joined us – here's a look at our Mission 3 and Mission 4 crew.
— OceanGate Expeditions (@OceanGateExped) June 15, 2023
“After the successful expeditions to the wreck in 2021 and 2022, OceanGate Expeditions will continue to return annually to further document the Titanic and its rate of decay,” the company says on its website.
The Titanic sank in the early hours of April 15, 1912, killing an estimated 1,500 people after colliding with an iceberg on its maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New York City.
The shipwreck of the ill-fated ocean liner has been explored extensively since it was first discovered in 1985 approximately 650km (404 miles) off the coast of Canada.
Author: Al Jazeera