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Water Today Title November 12, 2018

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Update 2018/8/22
Titanic


TITANIC SURVEY POSTPONED TO JUNE 2019




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By Michelle Moore

The Titanic Survey Expedition that was planned for this summer has been postponed to June 2019 by OceanGate, the company who's manned submersible will be the first to visit the site of the shipwreck since 2005.

The expedition will allow scientific researchers and Titanic enthusiasts alike to visit the site of the world's most famous shipwreck which sunk off the coast of Newfoundland on April 14, 1912 and now sits 3 800 metres below the ocean's surface.

OceanGate's manned submersible is the only non government-owned submersible in the world that can go to depths of 4000 meters with 5 people aboard. It has the largest viewport of all submersibles at 21 inches in diameter.

Less than 200 people have visited the Titanic, fewer than those who have climbed Mount Everest. Those wishing to join the expedition can do so for $105 129, the cost of a first class ticket on the maiden voyage of the Titanic, adjusting for inflation.

They will be joined by Newfoundland company SubC who will take the first 4K photographs of the wreck and create a 3 dimensional model that could be used for research, education and even video games.

OceanGate was in the Bahamas doing deep sea testing in April when lightning hit the submersible's electronics and damaged roughly 70% of the system. The team was further delayed by unusually stormy conditions and so testing could not be completed 45 days prior to the expedition as planned.

On June 27 OceanGate announced they had successfully completed their depth tests, confirming the strength of the carbon fibre and titanium hull. The company said their technology will open 50% of the ocean to manned exploration.

Strain gauges and acoustic sensors monitored the condition of the hull during the 4000 metre depth tests and provided real time feedback. The team will remain in the Bahamas to do pilot training, deep sea orientations and training until the expedition can begin next June.

A cable test that was successful with Cyclops 1 will be repeated with Titan, after which OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush will dive solo 4 000 metres deep, a depth reached only by one other person in the world, James Cameron.

Rush said "the deep ocean is hiding amazing corals, unexplored shipwrecks, and who knows how many undiscovered species ... We want to go explore and show the world what we find."

Scuba diver and explorer Renata Rojas was one of the first to join the expedition. She said "seeing the Titanic has been a life-long dream ... I have been fortunate enough to see the development of Titan from start to finish, and I couldn't be more confident in the OceanGate team."

The importance of visiting the 106 year old shipwreck is hastened by the fact that the ship is quickly deteriorating. All shipwrecks rust, however the Titanic is affected by an entirely new species of iron-oxide eating bacterium scientists have called Halomonas titanicae.

Dalhousie University researchers Henrietta Mann and Bhavleen Kaur published a report in 2010 in the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology outlining their new discovery. They estimate the Titanic will only be recognizable as a shipwreck for another 15 to 20 years and will eventually turn into a powder that will mix in with the ocean floor.

mmoore@watertoday.ca

Related:
Newfoundland Company Will Be First to Take 4K Images of Titanic - 2018/1/30






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