OceanGate boss Stockton Rush's 'risky' cost-cutting design may have caused Titan sub to 'implode like a soda can'

17 July 2023, 09:57 | Updated: 17 July 2023, 10:14

Five people died in a catastrophic implosion while on OceanGate's Titan sub
Five people died in a catastrophic implosion while on OceanGate's Titan sub. Picture: Alamy
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

A series of cost-cutting measures and risky design choices may have contributed to the catastrophic implosion of OceanGate's Titan submersible, experts have suggested.

Five people died on the Titan's sub in June as they journeyed to see the Titanic's wreckage, including the company's CEO Stockton Rush.

While an investigation into the implosion is under way, some design experts have analysed the doomed sub's design.

That includes the decision to use carbon fibre to design up the sub's hull (the main body of a ship), as well as Mr Rush's apparent disregard for safety.

Titan's hull shaped like a pill to 'fit more people in'

OceanGate's unusual sub design allowed for more passengers to fit inside the vessel
OceanGate's unusual sub design allowed for more passengers to fit inside the vessel. Picture: Alamy

One major concern over the sub's design centres around the hull.

The Titan's hull was designed to be shaped like a pill, rather than a more standard sphere shape.

This is was in an attempt to fit more people inside to join the $250,000 trip to see the Titanic wreckage.

The unusual shape of the hull may have caused pressure to distribute disproportionately, which may have caused it to 'collapse like a soda can'.

Carbon fibre hull made implosion more likely

In addition, the hull was designed with carbon fibre, rather than titanium - a cost-cutting move, the New York Times reported.

However, the carbon fibre hull was attached to other titanium materials, making the two harder to bond.

Under water, carbon fibre would compress at a quicker rate than titanium, placing increased pressure on the glue joints holding the two materials together.

Tim Foecke, a retired forensic metallurgist, said he was "very surprised" by the decision to user carbon fibre, since it would have been subject to compression under water, making an implosion more likely.

Read More: 'You're dead anyway': OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush's 'very strange' response to safety concerns over Titan sub

Concerns over OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush

Stockton Rush, left, CEO and Co-Founder of OceanGate, dive in the company's submersible Antipodes in 2013
Stockton Rush, left, CEO and Co-Founder of OceanGate, dive in the company's submersible Antipodes in 2013. Picture: Alamy

Another concern include Mr Rush's decision not to receive certification for the sub's design.

Speaking in a documentary, the CEO said: "You are remembered for the rules you break, and I’ve broken some rules to make this. The carbon fibre and titanium — there’s a rule you don’t do that. Well, I did."

In addition, the hull's carbon fibre material - typically used in aerospace design - tends to be lighter.

As well as the pill shape, this allowed more passengers to be carried onboard.

Mr Rush, who died on the sub, said earlier this year: "This weight reduction allows us to carry a significantly greater payload, which we use to carry five crew members."

Read More: OceanGate TV series just 'offensive rumours', Titanic director James Cameron insists as he bats down reports

Expeditions on the Titan sub cost $250,000, typically lasting around eight hours.

Five people died in the catastrophic implosion in June, including Mr Rush, British billionaire Hamish Harding, French explorer Paul Henry Nargeolet, businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son, Suleman.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Liz Truss has reacted to her party's terrible election results

Liz Truss blames Tory election drubbing on Rishi Sunak ‘trashing her record’ before pointing finger at Tony Blair

Joe Biden reacts to the assassination attempt of Donald Trump

‘Everyone must condemn it’: Joe Biden labels Donald Trump assassination attempt ‘sick’ as world leaders react

Donald Trump was shot at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania yesterday

Bloodied Donald Trump rushed off stage after shooting as FBI names dead gunman behind assassination attempt

Donald Trump's ear was grazed in a shooting at a campaign rally yesterday

‘Much bleeding took place’: Donald Trump releases new statement after being shot at campaign rally

President Trump was shot at a rally in Pennsylvania

Donald Trump carried off stage by Secret Service after shooting at campaign rally

American XL bully

Police raid suspected XL Bully farm and arrest man as 13 dogs seized inside house with children

Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer has told the England team that they have "made the country proud" before their crunch Euros final against Spain on Sunday.

'Bring it home': Keir Starmer sends message to England team ahead of showpiece Euros final against Spain

spanhoe airfield near corby main runway

Pilot killed in plane crash at former RAF airfield near Corby as police urge witnesses to come forward

A child is dead and five people have been injured after a house fire in East Ham, London.

Child dead after deadly blaze that injured five which gutted east London home and needed 40 firefighters to tackle

Daniel Halliday went missing while playing in the water with his brother on June 30.

Body found in the sea confirmed to be 14-year-old Daniel Halliday who was swept away in River Mersey on June 30

A Scottish council has come under fire for handing almost 2,000 penalties in the first 11 days of its low emission zone

Scottish council under fire after handing out 2,000 fines in first 11 days of new low emission zone

Graziano Di Prima has broken his silence

Strictly Come Dancing pro Graziano Di Prima breaks silence after being 'sacked' following misconduct claims

Strictly Come Dancing professional dancer Graziano Di Prima has been sacked by the BBC

Strictly Come Dancing pro 'sacked' after claims of gross misconduct towards former partner Zara McDermott

Prince William will be at the game on Sunday

‘Just one last push’: Prince William’s message to the England team ahead of Euro 2024 final against Spain

The family of the three women who were killed in a crossbow attack have said they are "devastated"

‘We are devastated’, John Hunt and surviving daughter say, after his wife and two daughters killed in crossbow attack

At least 71 Palestinians have been killed in an Israeli air strike

‘Dozens killed in air strike on Gaza humanitarian zone’ as Israel says it was targeting Hamas leaders