US Coast Guard to investigate cause of Titan submersible’s implosion

Captain Jason Neubauer leads the investigation of the submersible

Captain Jason Neubauer leads the investigation into the submersible – AP

The US Coast Guard has ordered a full investigation into the Titan submersible disaster that could lead to criminal and civil charges against those responsible.

He convened a Marine Board of Inquiry – the highest level of investigation conducted by the US Coast Guard.

Captain Jason Neubauer, who will lead the investigation, said his main task was to report on the cause of the accident which claimed the lives of five people.

“The MBI, however, is also responsible for the liability aspects of the incident,” he said.

“And he can make recommendations to the competent authorities to initiate civil or criminal sanctions if necessary.

“However, any subsequent enforcement activity would be pursued as a separate investigation.”

Other maritime safety bodies, including Britain’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch, may also ask to be involved in the investigation, Captain Neubauer continued.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada announced on Saturday that it had launched its own investigation. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is also examining the circumstances surrounding the disaster.

Capt Neubauer said his team was still collecting evidence as part of the rescue exercise after the search and rescue operation ended.

“The priority of the investigation is to recover objects from the seabed. We have already mapped the accident site,” he added.

Investigators are already conducting interviews in St John’s, Newfoundland, the port from which the Titan support ship Polar Prince departed.

The inquiry will hold a public hearing during which it will collect testimony.

A final report, intended to strengthen the safety of submersible operations, will be sent to the International Maritime Organization as well as to the maritime authorities of each country.

US Coast Guard Rear Admiral John Mauger said 11 ships, five “underground assets” and four aircraft took part in the search which covered 13,000 square miles of ocean.

The US Navy said Sunday it would not deploy the Flyaway Deep Ocean Salvage System, which would have been able to recover the Titan if it was intact.

Debris from the Titan was found approximately 488 meters (1,600 ft) from the wreckage of the Titanic.

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