Coast Guard Lays Out Next Phase at Titanic Site

Navy calls off planned use of salvage system
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 25, 2023 5:05 PM CDT
US, Canada Lay Out Next Steps in Submersible Investigation
Components of a Flyaway Deep Ocean Salvage System rest on the deck of a vessel in this undated photo provided by the US Navy Office of Information.   (U.S. Navy Office of Information via AP)

The Coast Guard said Sunday it is leading an investigation into the loss of the Titan submersible that was carrying five people to the Titanic, to determine what caused it to implode. Capt. Jason Neubauer, chief investigator, said that the salvage operations are ongoing and that the accident site has been mapped. He did not give a timeline for the investigation. Neubauer said the convening of a Marine Board of Investigation is the highest level of investigation the US Coast Guard conducts. The Coast Guard board can make recommendations to prosecutors to pursue civil or criminal sanctions, the AP reports.

The Navy said Sunday that it won't be using a large piece of salvage equipment that it had deployed to the effort to retrieve the Titan submersible after all. The Flyaway Deep Ocean Salvage System had the capability of lifting an intact Titan back to the surface. The Coast Guard announced on Thursday that debris from the submersible had been found roughly 1,600 feet from the Titanic in North Atlantic waters. The Navy would only use the ocean salvage system if there were pieces large enough to require the use of the specialized equipment. "Efforts are focused on helping map the debris field in preparation for recovery efforts and to support investigative actions," a Navy official told the AP in saying efforts to use the Flyaway system and the like have been dropped.

Evidence is being collected in the port of St. John's, Newfoundland, in coordination with Canadian authorities, Neubauer said. On Saturday, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada said that it has begun an investigation into the loss of the submersible and has been speaking with those who traveled on Titan's mothership, the Polar Prince. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police on Saturday said it's looking into whether a full investigation is warranted, which would happen only if it appears Canadian laws were broken. The chair of the Canadian Transportation Safety Board said it will share findings with US agencies as much as it can; voice recordings and witness statements are protected under Canadian law, Kathy Fox said. "We don't want to duplicate efforts. We want to collaborate," she said.

(More submersibles stories.)

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