OceanGate/AFP/Getty Images/File

‘Twas arrogance, pure and simple, that destroyed the Titan submersible on June 18.

The arrogance of owner OceanGate Expeditions. The arrogance of designer Stockton Rush. Their arrogance in thinking they knew more about designing and building submersibles than the third-party organizations whose expertise and certification was offered but spurned.

The fateful voyage was Titan‘s third to the wreck of the Titanic since 2021. Wealthy thrill-seekers paid $250,000 each to ride to a depth of almost 13,000 feet. And there were four of them aboard with Rush, OceanGate’s founder and CEO, when the Titan imploded.

Killed instantly were British billionaire explorer Hamish Harding, French diver Paul-Henri Nargeolet, Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood, his 19-year-old son Suleman, and Rush.

A number of organizations are investigating the loss of the Titan. And no doubt with an eye to coming lawsuits, a number of other organizations are distancing themselves from any involvement or responsibility.

But why the submersible imploded, instantly killing everyone aboard, is hardly a mystery. ‘Twas arrogance sank the sub.


Featured image: OceanGate Expeditions/PA

15 thoughts on “Arrogance

  1. I’m sorta leaning your way on the ultimate cause of this event…. in any case it was a joy- ride of idiocy…. as much as I like submarines, been on one or three….13,000 feet is best left to ugly ass fishes and sea dog robots.

    1. “Joyride of idiocy.” You do have a way with words. I’ve long been intrigued by submarines, submarine warfare, etc., but have had less than zero interest in traveling in one. I toured one in San Diego once, but it was firmly moored to the pier.

      1. Yep, I have a Sub Sim…WWII Pacific. And I toured a sub as a Cub Scout …Norfolk…years latter found my self on a couple….for a short time each. Nice place to visit…wouldn’t want to abode…

      2. The sub I toured was from WWII. Utmost respect for anyone who served in one of those things! Not that I think a modern sub would be any better. Far too coffin-esque.

  2. The word that has been going through my mind about it is simply “hubris.” These billionaires are so accustomed to having their own way that they no longer believe that normal laws of man or science apply to them.

    1. That certainly applies to Stockton Rush. The others, I don’t know. Maybe they were just suckered by assurances from Rush. To me the risk was so obvious I’d have never considered doing such a thing.

  3. I agree with Nina’s assessment. Hubris is the word that came to mind as perhaps slightly more appropriate than even arrogance, which also definitely applies, as they are pretty close in meaning. That good ol’ “Don’t worry, I got this” attitude. Almost as bad as, “Here, hold my beer!”

    That said, I would gladly descend to the Titanic, or anywhere else for that matter, with either Robert Ballard or James Cameron, both of whom are fanatically concerned with safety, as well as exploration.

  4. As a submariner I can tell you that the U.S. Navy has developed excellent expertise in the technology of pressure hulls, especially since the twin disasters of USS Thresher and USS Scorpion in 1963 and 1968 respectively. A program called “Subsafe” was developed which entailed, among other things, meticulous and periodic testing for cracks in hulls and piping by acoustic, radiographic and dye-penetrate methods. Cracking grows as metal is subjected to repeated pressure cycles, just as you can break a paper clip by repeated bending. No similar failures have occurred since to my knowledge.

    I agree on the diagnosis of hubris in the Titan catastrophe. The tour was a long, uncomfortable ride with one small window to be shared by 5 men. Why do that when outstanding videos exist that can be viewed comfortably and safely? Nothing but bragging rights.

    1. If the US Navy won’t take a submarine to 13,000 feet (as far as we know), why would anyone trust a civilian wannabee’s uncertified craft to go to that depth?

      I am inclined to want to exclude 19-year-old Suleman Dawood from the accusations of hubris. I’ve seen two conflicting stories about him. In one, an aunt said he was terrified to go (but probably went because his father wanted him to). In another, his mother said she gave up her place on the dive because he wanted so badly to go. But then, she’d just lost her son and his father. The four or five days that passed before the wreckage was discovered must have been excruciating for loved ones.

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