“We’ve never had a disaster like this,” James Cameron, the Oscar-winning director of “Titanic,” said Thursday.
Mr. Cameron, an expert on submersibles, has dived dozens of times to see the wrecked hulk and dived once Down to the deepest depths of the planet in a tiny craft of his own design.
In an interview, Mr Cameron described the alleged loss of five lives aboard the Oceangate company’s Titan submersible as the likes of which had never been seen by anyone involved in private ocean exploration.
“There have never been fatalities at such a depth and certainly no explosions,” he said.
Deep-sea explosions occur when a hollow object rapidly collapses inward due to the pressure of the abyss. Mr Cameron said in an interview, if the object was large enough to hold five people, it would be an extremely violent event – like 10 cases of dynamite exploding.
In 2012, Mr. Cameron designed and operated An experimental submarine in an area called Challenger Deep in the Pacific Ocean. Mr Cameron did not seek certification of ship safety from maritime industry organizations that provide such services to many companies.
Mr Cameron said “we did this intentionally” because the spacecraft was experimental and its mission was scientific. “I will never design and certify a vehicle to carry passengers.”
Mr Cameron strongly criticized Oceangate chief executive Stockton Rush, who ran the submersible when it went missing on Sunday, for never providing the submersible to his tourist. certified as safe, He said Mr. Rush certification is called hindrance to innovation.
Mr Cameron said, “I agree in principle.” “But you can’t take that stance when you’re putting paying customers in your submersible — when you have innocent guests who trust you and your statements” about vehicle safety.
Mr Cameron cited its construction with carbon-fibre composites, as a design weakness in the Titan submersible and a possible warning sign for its passengers. The materials are widely used in the aerospace industry because they weigh much less than steel or aluminum, yet are strong and tough, pound per pound.
The problem, Mr Cameron said, is that the carbon-fibre composite has “no strength in compression” – which is what happens when an underwater vehicle is plunged deep into the seabed and encounters an extreme increase in water pressure. Is. “That’s not what it’s designed for.”
He said, the company has used sensors in the hull of Titan. To assess the condition of the carbon-fibre composite hull. In its promotional material, Oceangate pointed to the sensor as an innovative feature for “hull health monitoring”. Earlier this year, an academic expert It has been told This system provides the pilot “sufficient time to abort the descent and return to the surface safely”.
Unlike the company, Mr. Cameron called it “a warning system” to let the submersible’s pilot know that “the hull is getting ready to explode.”
Mr Cameron said the sensor network on the submarine’s hull was an inadequate solution to a design he considered to be intrinsically flawed.
“It’s not like a light coming on when your car is low on oil,” he said of Hull’s network of sensors. “It’s different.”