Missing Titanic sub was low-tech on purpose to save money, subcontractor says

Missing Titan sub controlled by $29.99 Logitech video game controller

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Thursday 22 June 2023 17:35 BST
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TV reporter who survived Titanic sub trip weeps as he relives terrifying ordeal

The OceanGate Titan sub that went missing on an expedition to the Titanic wreck was deliberately designed to be low-tech, according to a subcontractor who worked on it.

Doug Virnig, who helped develop the Titan, told CNN that OceanGate used off-the-shelf technology such as a Logitech video game controller, to save on research and development costs.

“It seems kind of cheesy, but if you knew the amount of technology that was packed in that controller and its capabilities, and the amount of money that it costs to develop something like that, it’s just off the charts,” he told the news network of the $29.99 controller.

The submersible vessel named Titan, which is used to visit the wreckage site of the Titanic (OceanGate Expeditions)

“So if you can take these components off the shelf and incorporate them into a project like this, where you don’t have the research and development timelines and expense, that I believe is a wise choice.”

But Mr Virnig said that OceanGate had “gone cutting edge where they needed to” and “incorporated a good bit of conventional wisdom” into the development of the submersible.

And he said that he believed the sub would eventually be found.

“It has a titanium dome door and that’s not going anywhere,” Mr Virnig said. “That thing is indestructible … It’s a huge hunk of metal, so there are ways to detect that and they’ll find it.”

The US Coast Guard announced on Thursday morning that a “debris field” had been found in the search area near the Titanic as the sub was thought to have run out of oxygen.

Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his 19-year-old son Suleman Dawood are missing along with CEO and founder of OceanGate ExpeditionsStockton Rush, British billionaire explorer Hamish Harding and renowned French diver Paul-Henri Nargeolet.

Titan began its journey to the wreck site, which sits at a depth of 12,500 in the Atlantic Ocean, on Sunday morning.

About an hour and 45 minutes later, the Titan lost contact with its surface ship, the Polar Prince. The Titan is equipped with a four-day emergency oxygen supply.

Officials say that a Canadian aircraft involved in the search detected intermittent “banging” noises from the vicinity of its last known location.

Mr Dawood and his son, who are both British citizens, are part of one of Pakistan’s leading families, with investments in the country’s agriculture and industry.

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