Planned OceanGate Expedition to Titanic


Scott Mills

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Jul 10, 2008
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Hello, I have just joined the Encyclopedia Titanica community so please excuse a new thread from a "newbie".

My name is Bridget Buxton, and I am the science program coordinator for the planned Oceangate expedition to the Titanic site with the Titan submersible in June-August 2018. My students and I are looking to learn a lot from this community and, in turn, I would be happy to be contacted by anyone with questions, comments, concerns, or requests related to the 2018 Oceangate expedition.

I look forward to meeting you (virtually speaking)
Bridget

Bridget,

Am I right to assume the expedition is just what it says it will be--a general survey--and no deep penetrations of the hull are planned?
 

Rob Lawes

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Jun 13, 2012
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If the expedition has the ability to do some side scan sonar work that can penetrate the mud I know a lot of people on here would love to know the state of the propellers and in particular the number of blades on each of the three.
 
Mar 3, 2018
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Greetings - there are no plans for subbottom survey on the first expedition, but that is certainly something that has been talked about for the future. As for wreck penetration - Titan has no capability to do that at the moment - no flyaway ROV or manipulators. I know the TV production folks have talked about doing flyaway ROV penetrations from a workclass ROV essentially to show parts of the stories they want to tell, but at the moment there is not a specific ROV signed up for the job. So essentially the science mission of the sub is the general survey, but what the production company decides to do with the ROV's they are planning to bring is up to them.
 
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Aaron_2016

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Greetings - there are no plans for subbottom survey on the first expedition, but that is certainly something that has been talked about for the future. As for wreck penetration - Titan has no capability to do that at the moment - no flyaway ROV or manipulators. I know the TV production folks have talked about doing flyaway ROV penetrations from a workclass ROV essentially to show parts of the stories they want to tell, but at the moment there is not a specific ROV signed up for the job. So essentially the science mission of the sub is the general survey, but what the production company decides to do with the ROV's they are planning to bring is up to them.

It would be fascinating to get a better look at the large blade that was found on the sea floor a few miles away from the wreck.




propellerblade1.png



The original survey teams thought the current was strong enough to push the Titanic 4 miles away from her SOS position, and they searched inside this circle. They found a large blade but they could not find the wreck.


map01a.png



The wreck was found just outside the circle and was around 3 miles E.N.E. of the large blade, which could mean the currents were far more powerful than they realized. The bodies and lifeboats were carried away in that direction and the debris field on the seafloor is also scattered across a great distance in the same direction.


wreckage1a.png



It would be interesting if the blade could one day be recovered. I believe it struck the ice and fell during the collision or was thrown off soon after by the rapid stopping of the engines. The blue circle is where the blade was found, and the red dot is where the wreck was found. The lighter debris was scattered further in the same direction.

Chart from 1981.

blademap.png



.
 

Harland Duzen

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Just to say while hull scans were mentioned earlier on the thread weren't going to happen soon, it would be good in the future if sonar scans could be done of the Propellers because there's been some mystery in the Titanic community surrounding her propellers because:
  • Notes from Thomas Andrews about the Olympic / Titanic's construction suggest the central propeller had 3 blades instead of 4 as commonly seen.
The mystery of Titanic's central propeller

http://www.titanic-cad-plans.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Titanic-center-propeller-article.pdf
  • It's been hypothesised by some (including Aaron_2016) that the ship's Starboard Propeller was hit by the iceberg and one of it's blades was ripped off as it passed. While it's feasible as passengers did describe the belief of losing a propeller blade, it's unknown if their right or just assuming and actually felt the iceberg's contact with the ship and subsequent vibration.
If we could scan the seafloor and buried propellers and see their condition, we could put to rest 2 small mysteries. The latter mystery if found to be right would actually be important as it would tells us roughly where Titanic stuck the iceberg (as the blade would had fallen straight down if it had fallen off).

I hope this makes sense.
 

Rancor

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Jun 23, 2017
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Hello, I have just joined the Encyclopedia Titanica community so please excuse a new thread from a "newbie".

My name is Bridget Buxton, and I am the science program coordinator for the planned Oceangate expedition to the Titanic site with the Titan submersible in June-August 2018. My students and I are looking to learn a lot from this community and, in turn, I would be happy to be contacted by anyone with questions, comments, concerns, or requests related to the 2018 Oceangate expedition.

I look forward to meeting you (virtually speaking)
Bridget

Certainly sounds like an exciting expedition. I imagine your survey work will yield valuable data regarding the current state of the wreck. I wish you best of luck for the dives and will follow this with great interest.
 

Josh M

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Feb 22, 2018
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Hello

As most of you are probably aware, the Ocean Gate 2018 expedition to the Titanic wreck has been postponed until 2019. Apparently they are planning to develop a complete 3D map of the wreck in high-def resolution that can be later used in gaming console software and virtual reality software.

I have to say I am fairly pessimistic about the overall success of this expedition, at least in regards to the 3D mapping and the potential for virtual expeditions. I mean this would have been great to do 10 years ago if the technology was available, but surely by the time they get down to the wreck in 2019 they are going to find drastic deterioration compared to the last expedition to the wreck which I think was 6 or 7 years ago? I would not be surprised if several of the upper decks of the bow section have collapsed in on themselves and other once recognizable parts of the bow are now just rusted chaos.

What do you guys think?
 
May 3, 2005
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Hello

As most of you are probably aware, the Ocean Gate 2018 expedition to the Titanic wreck has been postponed until 2019. Apparently they are planning to develop a complete 3D map of the wreck in high-def resolution that can be later used in gaming console software and virtual reality software.

I have to say I am fairly pessimistic about the overall success of this expedition, at least in regards to the 3D mapping and the potential for virtual expeditions. I mean this would have been great to do 10 years ago if the technology was available, but surely by the time they get down to the wreck in 2019 they are going to find drastic deterioration compared to the last expedition to the wreck which I think was 6 or 7 years ago? I would not be surprised if several of the upper decks of the bow section have collapsed in on themselves and other once recognizable parts of the bow are now just rusted chaos.

What do you guys think?
I am just one of the more "landlubberly landlubbers" on these forums.
But I would have to agree with you.
I am afraid that not too long from now there won"t be anything but piles of rust on the ocean floor to mark the wreck site.
 
Nov 14, 2005
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Hello

As most of you are probably aware, the Ocean Gate 2018 expedition to the Titanic wreck has been postponed until 2019. Apparently they are planning to develop a complete 3D map of the wreck in high-def resolution that can be later used in gaming console software and virtual reality software.

I have to say I am fairly pessimistic about the overall success of this expedition, at least in regards to the 3D mapping and the potential for virtual expeditions. I mean this would have been great to do 10 years ago if the technology was available, but surely by the time they get down to the wreck in 2019 they are going to find drastic deterioration compared to the last expedition to the wreck which I think was 6 or 7 years ago? I would not be surprised if several of the upper decks of the bow section have collapsed in on themselves and other once recognizable parts of the bow are now just rusted chaos.

What do you guys think?
No I wasn't aware it had been postponed. Too bad, was looking forward to seeing some new pics of the site. I agree with you and Robert on this. The longer it takes the less there will be to document. At least of the ship.
 

Rich Hayden

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Jul 17, 2014
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AFAIK, this expedition, by OceanGate Expeditions, was postponed from 2018. Now it's supposed to take place in the summer of next year (2019).

2019 Titanic Survey Expedition

Either way, I'm fairly concerned about the state of the wreck when they actually get down there to start the survey.

My main question is: do you think it's likely that there has been serious disintegration since the last expedition? What state are you expecting the wreck to be in?

(Personally speaking, and I know others will quite rightly disagree, but the Marconi equipment really should be salvaged if possible, IMO. My fear is that it's now disappeared into the lower decks as part of a general collapse.)

Mods: please feel free to move this to another section of the forum if necessary
 
Mar 3, 2018
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Either way, I'm fairly concerned about the state of the wreck when they actually get down there to start the survey. My main question is: do you think it's likely that there has been serious disintegration since the last expedition? What state are you expecting the wreck to be in?

- Nobody knows. I think there's a chance another expedition will get down there with an ROV before Cyclops II Titan gets there in June to check things out. One of the most useful tools we (should) have to track and predict the disintegration of the wreck and advance of the rusticles is photos of previous expeditions, many of which were supported either in part or in full by taxpayer-funded assets, but as other posters have pointed out: it's practically impossible to get access to those HD image and raw data collections (eg the ones RMS Titanic Inc. has).

A wreck in catastrophic collapse is going to be a bit depressing of course but no less valuable to archaeologists and other marine scientists. It might also be a good wakeup call to get the documentation done sooner rather than later on WW1 wrecks. Titan wasn't just built to dive Titanic.
 
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Aaron_2016

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Either way, I'm fairly concerned about the state of the wreck when they actually get down there to start the survey. My main question is: do you think it's likely that there has been serious disintegration since the last expedition? What state are you expecting the wreck to be in?

- Nobody knows. I think there's a chance another expedition will get down there with an ROV before Cyclops II Titan gets there in June to check things out. One of the most useful tools we (should) have to track and predict the disintegration of the wreck and advance of the rusticles is photos of previous expeditions, many of which were supported either in part or in full by taxpayer-funded assets, but as other posters have pointed out: it's practically impossible to get access to those HD image and raw data collections (eg the ones RMS Titanic Inc. has).

A wreck in catastrophic collapse is going to be a bit depressing of course but no less valuable to archaeologists and other marine scientists. It might also be a good wakeup call to get the documentation done sooner rather than later on WW1 wrecks. Titan wasn't just built to dive Titanic.

Salvagers are permitted to remove artefacts from the debris field, but I believe there is a strict policy which forbids the salvage of any artefacts taken from the interior of the ship. I think the salvage teams would be delighted to see the wreck completely collapse and they might even be accelerating the process by intentionally landing hard on the boat deck and snagging cables over her structure. Once the wreck has collapsed it would be like opening a treasure chest. The wreck itself would become a debris field and I think it would be legal to salvage anything they find.

e.g.


"Oops! The cables have snagged on the hull. What shall we do?"

upload_2018-12-17_12-10-39.png



"1,2,3, pull"

upload_2018-12-17_12-11-36.png



"Oops. We did it again. Might as well salvage what we find here and make a fortune."


upload_2018-12-17_12-12-13.png



.
 
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Rich Hayden

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Made me laugh. My own feelings re. salvage have changed a lot over the years. For a long time I'd always loathed the idea of this stuff being dragged back to the surface, perhaps unrecorded, and then hawked around casinos in Las Vegas, especially now that the artifacts are in the hands of a hedge fund.

My own fantasy was for two purpose-built museums, one in Southampton and one in New York that also functioned as research centres. The artifacts could've been displayed and added to over time.

That said, I'm much more pro-salvage now than I was even ten years ago. Once these things are gone then they're gone forever. There's actually nothing I wouldn't salvage from the wreck. What matters to me is how the artifacts are displayed and treated on the surface, and it's hard to compare a casino with a purpose-built museum.

The UK government is currently blowing hundreds of millions of pounds on Brexit. A tiny fraction of that would've secured both all the artifacts and created appropriate museum space. Unfortunately it never happened and never will. There wasn't even any discussion in the UK about purchasing the Titanic artifacts. It hardly received any media coverage at all, yet a painting by Titian was bought 'for the nation' a few years ago for £45 million.

All that said, I agree completely with Parks Stephenson's belief that the Marconi equipment should be retrieved if possible. Of all the known existing artifacts on the sea floor, these seem to be of the greatest significance and are central to the Titanic story.
 
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Mar 3, 2018
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Very disappointing but unfortunately - due to the loss of the support ship - it was a necessary postponement of the Oceangate expedition until next year. To reiterate since the question seems to keep coming up, the expedition had/has no plans for any kind of physical contact with either the wreck or debris field, though it's a long term goal of the marine biologists to leave a small lander near the site to collect environmental data. To those wondering about what additional survey of the wreck would achieve, well the laser scanners, environmental data collection, and camera systems on Titan represent a significant upgrade from the tech used on previous expeditions, but more to the point - the amazing map of the entire site and debris field celebrated so much in that History channel documentary and all the thousands of photos etc from those RMS Titanic expeditions have never been made available to the public. My goal is to see a full GIS of the site accessible online as well as a web-based filemaker database of publicly available new images. There may, as James Cameron has written, not be any major new mysteries to solve about the sinking, but study of the decay rate of the site is definitely worthwhile, as it has significant implications for the future management not only of Titanic but of many other early 20th century iron shipwrecks in deep water.
 

Scott Mills

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This is disappointing; however, I will continue to wait in vain for someone with the technology, funding, interest, and gumption to actually attempt more deep penetrations of Titanic before she disappears. There is a lot down there that could answer some questions, and confirm, or put to bed, a number of theories about the nature of the damage to Titanic could someone actually get into places like the boiler rooms, or the forepeak tank.
 

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