OceanGate CEO said glue holding Titanic sub together was ‘like peanut butter’

Stockton Rush said there was ‘not a lot of room for error’ if the sub’s hull failed

Graig Graziosi
Thursday 06 July 2023 05:28 BST
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Related: Resurfaced documentary footage shows Titan spinning out of control

Stockton Rush, the CEO of OceanGate Expeditions whose submarine imploded during a trip to see the wreckage of the Titanic, once described the glue holding the vessel together as similar to "peanut butter."

News of the sub dominated headlines for days last month after the vessel went missing during its dive to the remnants of the Titanic. Ultimately all five individuals onboard, including Mr Rush, died when the pressure of the deep ocean caused it to implode.

In a 2018 video posted to OceanGate's YouTube channel, Mr Rush can be heard describing the glue used to hold the carbon-fibre submersible's structure together "like peanut butter," saying it was "pretty simple" and thicker than Elmer's glue.

He was overseeing the bonding of the sub's titanium ring and carbon-fibre hull in the video, according to Insider.

Elsewhere in the video Mr Rush admits that "if we mess it up, there's not a lot of room for recovery."

The admission is especially morbid as more information has come to light since the voyagers were killed showing that experts and former OceanGate employees had warned Mr Rush of safety issues with the submersible.

David Lochridge, formerly the company's director of marine operations between 2015 and 2018, raised his concerns over the sub's safety and was promptly fired as a result.

After his firing Mr Lochridge reportedly emailed his associate at the company Rob McCallum — who also left over safety concerns — to share his worry that Mr Rush would get himself and others killed in a quest to satiate his "ego."

"I don't want to be seen as a Tattle tale but I'm so worried he kills himself and others in the quest to boost his ego," Mr Lochridge said in the email, according to The New Yorker.

He went on to say that the sub is an "accident waiting to happen" and conceded that no amount of money would have convinced him "to dive the thing."

OceanGate Expeditions CEO Stockton Rush once compared the glue holding the Titan submersible together to ‘peanut butter’

While court records show Mr Lochridge found numerous red flags during an inspection of the sub, his most serious concern was with the carbon-fibre material used to make the hull.

The material is not typical for use in diving vessels and was not tested at the extreme pressures the sub would have to endure to reach the Titanic wreckage. Mr Lochridge pushed for the vessel to be classified by a certification agency, recommending the American Bureau of Shipping, but those suggestions reportedly fell on deaf ears.

Mr Rush never submitted the submersible for inspection and certification, citing "innovation" and publishing a blog post explaining why the vessel was not classed.

"While classing agencies are willing to pursue the certification of new and innovative designs and ideas, they often have a multi-year approval cycle due to a lack of pre-existing standards ..." Mr Rush wrote on the blog. "Bringing an outside entity up to speed on every innovation before it is put into real-world testing is anathema to rapid innovation."

The blog concludes by stating that "classing is not sufficient to ensure safety."

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