Our live coverage of the search for the missing Titan sub has moved here.
Boeing Wednesday said they were not a partner on the Titan and they did not design or build the submersible, according to a statement from the company.
“Boeing was not a partner on the Titan and did not design or build it,” the company said in a statement to CNN Wednesday evening.
OceanGate's claim: A 2021 news release from OceanGate lists Boeing as a partner and stated it provided “Design and engineering support” for the Titan submersible.
On OceanGate’s website, they also stated the Titan was “designed and engineered by OceanGate Inc. in collaboration [with] experts” from Boeing and other entities.
Boeing declined to comment further to CNN about these assertions from OceanGate.
CNN asked OceanGate to comment about its relationship with Boeing and the company said they were unable to provide additional information.
CNN’s Rob Frehse and Paul Murphy contributed to this post.
The University of Washington reiterated Wednesday that they were not involved in the design, engineering or testing of the Titan submersible, despite assertions that they were, according to a 2021 court filing by OceanGate.
“To clarify and expand upon yesterday’s statement, the University of Washington’s Applied Physics Laboratory initially signed a $5 million research collaborative agreement with OceanGate, but only $650,000 worth of work was completed before the two organizations parted ways,” University of Washington spokesperson Victor Balta said in a statement to CNN.
“That collaboration resulted in a steel-hulled vessel, named the Cyclops 1, that can travel to 500 meters depth, which is far shallower than the depths that OceanGate’s TITAN submersible traveled to. As stated earlier, the Laboratory was not involved in the design, engineering or testing of the TITAN submersible used in the RMS TITANIC expedition,” Balta added.
OceanGate used testing tanks at the UW School of Oceanography for nine tests between 2016 and 2022, Balta said. The tanks were used on a contract basis and no university researchers were involved in those tests and “UW personnel did not provide any verification or validation of any OceanGate equipment as a result of those tests,” Balta added.
CNN reached out to OceanGate for comment about why the company and the University of Washington ended their research agreement. CNN also asked OceanGate what the company was testing in the school’s testing tanks.
Court filing: CNN previously reported that in a 2021 court filing, OceanGate’s legal representative touted the specs and a hull monitoring system that he called "an unparalleled safety feature” built into the Titan. The legal representative told the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, which oversees matters related to the Titanic, of the company’s expedition plans at the time.
The filing laid out the Titan’s testing details and its specifications, including that it had undergone more than 50 test dives and detailing its 5-inch-thick carbon fiber and titanium hull. The filing said OceanGate’s vessel was the result of over eight years of work, including “detailed engineering and development work under a company issued $5 million contract to the University of Washington’s Applied Physics Laboratory.”
Kevin Williams, the executive director of UW’s Applied Physics Laboratory, told CNN Tuesday “the Laboratory was not involved in the design, engineering or testing of the TITAN submersible used in the RMS TITANIC expedition.”
CNN’s Rob Frehse, Jason Kravarik and Paul Murphy contributed to this post.
Ret. Navy Capt. David Marquet, a former submarine captain, described Wednesday what he imagines the five passengers are experiencing in the Titan submersible.
Marquet said he imagines the passengers are thirsty and hungry, but that it "is probably not going to kill them." If alive, he said they are likely to be very uncomfortable.
"They're freezing cold. The water entirely surrounding the ship is at freezing or slightly below. When they exhale, their breath condenses. There's frost on the inside of the parts of the submarine. They're all huddled together trying to conserve their body heat. They're running low on oxygen and they're exhaling carbon dioxide."
He told CNN's Jake Tapper the submersible has a "limited ability" to absorb the exhaled carbon dioxide, which at high levels could trigger headaches, confusion and nausea.
"The oxygen and the carbon dioxide and the freezing are what they got to hold onto as long as possible to give the rescuers the time they need," Marquet added.
Discovery Channel host Josh Gates, who went on a test dive on OceanGate Expedition’s Titan submersible in 2021, called the news of the missing vessel “surreal” and “haunting.”
Gates, who hosts the adventure show "Expedition Unknown," told CNN’s Anderson Cooper Wednesday that he had spent time with OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush and that he knew adventurer, Hamish Harding, both of whom are on the missing vessel.
Gates and his team ultimately decided not to go through with filming a segment about OceanGate's plans for submersible trips to the Titanic wreck because he felt the program wasn't ready.
“In the course though of going out on Titan, and diving down inside of it, it just became clear to us at that time that there was a alot that needed to be worked out with the sub,” Gates said. "A lot of the systems worked but a lot of them really didn’t. We had issues with thrusters and issues with computer control and things like that. Ultimately, it was a challenging dive."
Gates explained that in 2021 he learned there were four ways for the vessel to shed weight and bring it back up to the surface in the case of an emergency.
There is a computer-controlled weight release, a manual-valve system that injects air into exterior ballast containers, a hydraulic system to drop weights and an ability to detach from the sled attached to the submersible and help move the vessel back to the surface.
“On one hand you have this incredibly innovative, novel design," Gates said. "On the other hand, there are a lot of unknowns."
The United States Coast Guard provided a new graphic Wednesday night showing the updated search pattern for the Titan submersible.
The USCG also said the following assets are on their way to the site to assist in the search:
· Canadian CGS Ann Harvey
· Canadian CGS Terry Fox
· Motor Vessel Horizon Arctic (ROV)
· French Research Vessel L’Atalante (ROV)
· His Majesty's Canadian Ship Glace Bay (mobile decompression chamber and medical personnel)
· Air National Guard C-130
· ROV from Magellan
The submersible, known as “Titan,” begins each trip with 96 hours of life support and has been missing since Sunday, setting up Thursday morning as a key target for finding the vessel and those on board.
The US Coast Guard rerouted some of its equipment to try to pinpoint banging sounds heard during the aerial search Tuesday and Wednesday morning in the remote North Atlantic area. Though it didn't yield any results, the sonar devices from the Canadian P-3 aircraft are being analyzed by the US Navy, officials said Wednesday.
Here's what we learned today:
How the sub went missing: The vessel, operated by OceanGate Expeditions, began its two-hour descent to the wreck of the Titanic on Sunday morning. (You can see how deep the wreckage is here.) It lost contact with the Polar Prince, the support ship that transported the craft to the location in the North Atlantic, 1 hour and 45 minutes into its descent, officials said. Search operations began later that day. It’s still not clear what happened to the submersible, why it lost contact, and how close it was to the Titanic when it went missing.
What we know about the noises: Banging noises were identified by Canadian aircraft on Tuesday and Wednesday morning. Remotely operated vehicle (ROV) equipment was relocated to where the noises were detected, according to Capt. Jamie Frederick, the response coordinator for the First Coast Guard District. But searches in the area "yielded negative results," he said. Data from the plane that identified the noises was sent to the US Navy, but has so far been inconclusive," Frederick said, adding that the Coast Guard does not know what the sounds were.
What it could be like onboard: The vessel begins each trip with 96 hours of life support, according to OceanGate – and officials believe the five people on board have "limited rations" of food and water. Ret. Navy Capt. David Marquet, a former submarine captain, told CNN the near-freezing water at that depth is probably making the situation very uncomfortable. "There's frost on the inside of the parts of the submarine. They're all huddled together trying to conserve their body heat. They're running low on oxygen and they're exhaling carbon dioxide," he said.
The Polar Prince: The support vessel that brought the submersible to the dive site will remain in the ocean until the search is complete, the operator said Wednesday. Horizon Maritime Services said the Polar Prince's role is to support the Coast Guard and that searchers are "very aware of the time sensitivity around this mission." There is a crew of 17 people on the vessel, said Sean Leet, the company's co-founder and chairman.
Specialized equipment: If search crews locate the missing submersible deep in the ocean, authorities will then face a highly complex recovery mission. A US Navy salvage system arrived in St. John’s, Newfoundland, on Wednesday, a Navy official said. The Flyaway Deep Ocean Salvage System (FADOSS) is capable of retrieving objects or vessels off the bottom of the ocean floor up to a depth of 20,000 feet, but needs first to be welded to a ship which could take a full day, the official said. You can see all of the equipment being used in search efforts here.
OceanGate Expeditions, which operated the submersible that went missing Sunday on its way to view the Titanic wreckage, strayed from industry norms by declining a voluntary, rigorous safety review of the vessel known as "Titan," according to an industry leader.
If OceanGate had pursued a certification review “some of this may have been avoided,” Will Kohnen of the Marine Technology Society told CNN on Wednesday.
Kohnen is president of the group’s submarine committee and described to CNN a 2018 conversation he had with OceanGate founder Stockton Rush addressing the society’s concerns.
“We agreed to disagree,” Kohnen said.
Kohnen drafted a letter to Rush on behalf of the group that outlined the concerns.
“You are taking on a lot of risk and the risk you are taking might affect the entire industry,” Kohnen said, characterizing his concerns at the time. “We have a very good track record of safety and if something happens it would be a big impact to just…our safety record, and everybody had concerns about that.”
“We told him that he should consider certifying it,” Kohnen said, describing the certification as the “gold standard” for safety.
In a 2019 blog post on OceanGate's website, the company said classing agencies "do not ensure that operators adhere to proper operating procedures and decision-making processes — two areas that are much more important for mitigating risks at sea. The vast majority of marine (and aviation) accidents are a result of operator error, not mechanical failure," it said.
“There are 10 submarines in the world that can go 12,000 ft and deeper,” Kohnen said. “All of them are certified except the Oceangate submersible.”
He also said a working beacon on the vessel would help searchers find it quicker "so that someone could direct themselves in that direction.”
OceanGate did not respond to a request from CNN to comment on the letter, which was obtained by CNN and first reported by the New York Times.
The CEO of OceanGate, the company that operated trips to the Titanic wreckage in a submersible vessel, said in 2021 that he wanted to be remembered as an innovator who broke the rules.
Alan Estrada, a Mexican travel blogger who runs Alan por el mundo, documented his expedition to the Titanic with OceanGate during an aborted attempt in July 2021 and again during a successful visit in 2022 and interviewed OceanGate’s CEO Stockton Rush as part of his series.
Rush is one of the five people aboard the submersible that went missing Sunday, according to a person with knowledge of the mission plan
"I'd like to be remembered as an innovator," Rush said in the interview. “I think it was General MacArthur who said, 'You’re remembered for the rules you break' and you know I've broken some rules to make this."
Rush said the technology he used to build his submersibles is "good engineering."
"I think I've broken them with logic and good engineering behind me, the carbon fiber titanium, there's a rule you don’t do that. Well, I did," Rush said.
Rush said innovation meant breaking rules that will add value to society.
"It's picking the rules that you break that are the ones that will add value to others and add value to society, and that really, to me, is about innovation," Rush said. "You know innovation is when you take an invention and you make it, you know, accepted broadly."
Some background: Court filings reveal OceanGate years ago was confronted with safety concerns about the vessel. Two former employees separately raised similar safety concerns about the thickness of the submersible’s hull when they were employed by the company.
When more concerns were raised by contractors and employees during his time at OceanGate, Rush, the CEO, got defensive and shied away from answering questions during all-staff meetings, the other former employee said.