Titanic Tourists’ Dreams Tank As Undersea Trips Are Delayed Until 2020

Titanic+in+GantryAs passengers on Titanic embarked on a North Atlantic crossing from Southampton to New York City on the morning of April 10th, 1912, few of them likely imagined the terror that lay in store for them or that by the time the ship sank out from under them after hitting an iceberg in the wee hours of April 14th, more than 1,500 of their number would perish. Since then, Titanic historians and admirers alike have dreamed of seeing the famous sunken ocean liner up close, and it seemed as if technology and a company called OceanGate Expeditions could make those dreams come true. However, now would-be explorers who have the time and money to visit Titanic up close will have to wait until 2020 to see their hopes realized.

1.  The Trip of a Lifetime

Ever since the wreckage of Titanic was discovered in 1985 by Rob Ballard and his team of undersea explorers, historians and those who have always been held sway by the mystery and tragedy of the ship have dreamed of diving down and seeing her up close. For years it was impossible all but for scientists and military personnel; however, as technology advanced, it seemed as though it might be possible to allow tourists to dive into the depths of the North Atlantic as well, a trip of a lifetime to see the famous wreck up close.

titanic-600The tours are the brainchild of OceanGate Expeditions, an American-based company that developed week-long submersion tours which would take tourists down to view Titanic. Passengers would be taken out to sea via a larger vessel, much like they saw in the 1997 motion picture, and then be launched into the depths inside a submarine, where they would take an up-close tour of doomed ship, which some experts believe will be completely consumed by the ocean’s salt water in the next 15 to 20 years. To date, passengers have paid up to $168,000 for the experience; however, those who have already shelled out the money were recently told that the tours have been delayed until 2020 due to shipping regulation issues.

2.  Maritime Laws Crumble Plans

The unfortunate delay comes as the result of a maritime shipping law that forbid foreign ships from engaging in commercial voyages if they are leaving and arriving from Canadian ports. The ship carrying OceanGate’s submarine, the Havila Harmony, is out of Norway (3). Therefore, it is subject to the laws of what is called the Coasting Trade Act, and the OceanGate company was notified that the Havila Harmony was under serious threat of being impounded if the tours were launched. Since this might put the diving submarine, Titan, in danger and cause issues for anyone on board the larger vessel, those at the head of Oceangate’s tours had little choice to delay the dives.

titanic-new-movie-Titanic-wreckThe company’s CEO, Stockton Rush, noted that there was little time between discovering the legal snag and the scheduled date of the first launch, which was slated for June 28th. There were also no other acceptable substitute ships, and Rush believes that such a substitution would put the lives of the crew and tourists in danger. He asserted recently in an interview, “When you start rushing an expedition, you start asking for mistakes [ . . .] in our business, mistakes could be fatal.” Considering Titanic lies over 12,000 feet beneath the sea, this is likely a wise take.

3.  The Future of OceanGate Tours

While delays so close to launching these epic Titanic tours are no doubt frustrating for all involved, Rush and his crew are confident this does not mean the end of the program. Most of those involved have agreed to stay the course and wait until another ship can be procured. Tourists who already paid to take part in the dive are likely disappointed, but when it comes to safety, avoiding another Titanic-related tragedy is likely worth the wait.

image-oceangate-67963Some individuals, including Rush, are concerned about how this delay might affect the future of OceanGate in general. The company stood to make a considerable profit from these tours, and the snag has now caused an issue with its finances. However, Rush is certain that OceanGate will weather this issue and that plans will move ahead with a new launch date around June or July of 2020.

While delays so close to launching these epic Titanic tours are no doubt frustrating for all involved, Rush and his crew are confident this does not mean the end of the program. Most of those involved have agreed to stay the course and wait until another ship can be procured. Tourists who already paid to take part in the dive are likely disappointed, but when it comes to safety, avoiding another Titanic-related tragedy is likely worth the wait.

Some individuals, including Rush, are concerned about how this delay might affect the future of OceanGate in general. The company stood to make a considerable profit from these tours, and the snag has now caused an issue with its finances. However, Rush is certain that OceanGate will weather this issue and that plans will move ahead with a new launch date around June or July of 2020.

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