OceanGate suspends all exploration and commercial operations after Titan sub implosion

Five people were killed during an expedition to the Titanic wreckage.

ByMeredith Deliso, Sam Sweeney and Amanda Maile ABCNews logo
Thursday, July 6, 2023
How the Titan submersible went missing
A visual timeline recounting the events that led up to the disappearance of the Titan submersible.

OceanGate said it is suspending all exploration and commercial operations after five people were killed, including the company's CEO, during its expedition to the Titanic wreckage last month.

The Everett, Washington-based company announced the development in a banner on its websites.

OceanGate, founded in 2009, offered tourists the opportunity to travel on submersibles into the ocean's depths for a close-up look at shipwrecks and underwater canyons.

On June 18, its Titan submersible went missing while on a deep-sea voyage to the Titanic. The remnants of the missing OceanGate submersible, including the tail cone, were found on the ocean floor about 1,600 feet from the bow of the wrecked Titanic on June 22 by a remotely operated vehicle.

Debris recovered from the submersible contained "presumed human remains," the U.S. Coast Guard said last week.

The Marine Board of Investigation will be conducting "further analysis and testing" on the evidence, the Coast Guard said.

"There is still a substantial amount of work to be done to understand the factors that led to the catastrophic loss of the TITAN and help ensure a similar tragedy does not occur again," Marine Board of Investigation Chair Capt. Jason Neubauer said in a statement on June 28.

The U.S. Coast Guard is leading an investigation into the deadly incident, according to the National Transportation Safety Board, which said it will "contribute to their efforts."

Former National Transportation Safety Board investigator Tom Haueter called the probe "uncharted territory" that could take "months" to analyze the failures.

"This is the first fatality on a passenger carriage submarine I can think of and certainly the first one going into Titanic at this depth," Haueter told ABC News.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police also said last month that they are "examining the circumstances" of the deaths on board the Titan and will launch a full investigation if "the circumstances indicate criminal, federal or provincial laws may possibly have been broken."

OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush was among the five passengers killed on the experimental submersible, which has come under scrutiny for its carbon fiber construction and design. Stockton had previously defended the decision to manufacture the Titan with carbon fiber, saying he believed a sub made with carbon fiber would have a better strength-to-buoyancy ratio than titanium.

OceanGate had conducted over 14 expeditions and more than 200 dives across the Pacific, Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, according to the company's website. A seat on its submersible to see the Titanic wreckage cost $250,000 per passenger.