Expedition vessel electronics damaged by storm.
Deep-pocketed tourists waiting to explore the 20th century’s most famous maritime wreck will have to wait a little longer. American submersible company OceanGate has pushed back diving expeditions to the Titanic wreck site to 2019. Trips had been planned for May 2018 but are now on hold.
"We rescheduled the tour for 2019 because when we got to the Bahamas we had a self-imposed timeline of a 45-day go/no go that we needed to reach 4,000 meters by," said OceanGate marketing manager Dana Hall. "Upon arrival we had about a week of really bad thunder and lightning storms," she adds. The vessel wasn't hit by lightning but was still affected. "The electromagnetic field from the lightening damaged over 70% of the electronics."
Departing from Newfoundland, OceanGate's eight-day journey will transport visitors in a titanium-and-carbon-fiber submersible to the vessel's final resting place more than two miles below the Atlantic’s surface. With three potential days of diving, participants will assist the expedition team in the submersible and aboard the expedition yacht.
Dives to the 269-metre vessel will last three hours, exploring the deck, bow, bridge and the cavern where the grand staircase was once located. There will also be the chance to explore Titanic's massive debris field, home to numerous artifacts strewn across the ocean floor. "It's a real expedition experience, it's certainly not a luxury vacation," said Hall.
Interest in the Titanic has remained high since its final resting place was discovered almost 33 years ago. However, this could be one of the last opportunities to experience the 20th century’s most famous wreck; a 2016 study claimed extremophile bacteria could eat away what remains within 15 or 20 years.
Back in 1912, a trip aboard the Titanic was the pinnacle in luxury travel and remains so to this day. The first OceanGate voyage is already fully booked. The cost? A mere $105,129 per person. Blue Marble Private declares the price equivalent (after inflation) to a $4,350 First Class passage on Titanic's inaugural -- and only -- voyage from Southampton to New York.