Janet Street-Porter has voiced her opinion on the ethics of “Titanic tourism” in response to the desperate ongoing mission to rescue a missing underwater vessel.
A tourist submarine intended to explore the wreckage of the sunken ship Titanic has been missing in the Atlantic Ocean since Sunday (18 June).
Run by the company OceanGate Expeditions, the submersible, Titan, has five people aboard: British billionaire explorer Hamish Harding, renowned French diver Paul-Henri Nargeolet and Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his 19-year-old son Sulaiman Dawood, and Stockton Rush, the founder of OceanGate Expeditions.
On Tuesday’s edition (20 June) of ITV chat show Loose Women, cultural commentator Street-Porter shared her thoughts on the search and raised a query about the people who could afford to take part.
“I don’t want to appear heartless, but I do think that the people who are on board will have understood the risks,” she began.
“Because this kind of trip is a new kind of tourism which we’ve seen in space trips and now underwater trips and people scaling the highest mountains in the world. Only the richest people in the world can afford this kind of tourism.”
“It’s £195,000 a person,” she continued. “Of course, that doesn’t diminish the pain and anguish that their families are going through, but I fully believe that the people that decided to go on these trips, their families will have been aware of the risks involved.”
The broadcaster then noted that the ship wreckage also contains the remains of over 1,000 people, who died when the Titanic sank in April 1912.
Street-Porter said: “1,500 people died on that boat, and it is a graveyard. So, once again, I question the morality of spending all that money to go and look at a graveyard.”
Later in the conversation, lead panellist Ruth Langsford expressed her hopes that the Titanic wouldn’t cause the deaths of five additional people.
Street-Porter then drew attention to the safety of those on the search and rescue mission as a result of the submarine’s disappearance.
“Let’s hope that the people don't put their lives in danger trying to rescue them too, because they’re people doing a job that they’re paid a lot less money for doing,” she said.
The US Coast Guard and Canadian Coast Guard are currently involved in the quest to find the submersible.
The Titan is equipped with a four-day emergency oxygen supply, meaning that the people on board have until Thursday (22 June) to be rescued safely.
You can keep up with the latest updates here.
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