After a lengthy wait of 15 years, Titanic will once again be visited, but this time by tourists! OceanGate Expeditions have just announced deep-sea diving expedition packages for people who would like to visit the famous wreckage submerged in the Atlantic Ocean. Expeditions are expected to cost a whopping US$125,000, equivalent to RM515,000.
The ill-fated cruise liner, after having hit an iceberg on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City in April 1912, sunk in the mid-Atlantic in a location around 595 km off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada, settling on the seafloor some 6,437 km below the surface. More than 1,500 of the 2,224 passengers and crew perished.
A total of six expeditions are planned for 2021 from May to September. As of time of writing, almost 40 tickets have already been sold. Each expedition trip will include a total of nine passengers, making only 54 places available in total. Visitors purchasing excursion packages will get to enjoy private cabins on the eight-day sail trip from Canada, and a chance to operate a five-person deep-sea diving submarine during the 90-minute descent to reach Titanic.
According to exploration experts, although there are no human remains left to be seen, there are a host of other well-preserved paraphernalia still laying intact within the wreckage site, such as children’s toys, luggage, and wine bottles.
“There are boots and shoes and clothes that show where people were 100 years ago, and that is very sombre.”Stockton Rush, President of OceanGate Expeditions, tells Bloomberg.
OceanGate also informs the public that each diving expedition will last between six and eight hours, with three hours reserved for exploring the ship itself. Dives will also double as scientific research missions to observe sea life activity surrounding the ship’s vessel.
Naturally, news of tourists exploring the wreck is controversial, and has deeply unsettled several surviving descendants of those who tragically lost their lives during the historical sinking. One such descendant, Beverly Roberts, expressed to the BBC that the shipwreck site is a “mass grave site” and should be left in peace.
OceanGate however, has yet to respond to that. They were previously known to have rescheduled excursion tours many times from 2018 when they first started offering them. They were initially pushed back to 2019, and now to 2021. A main reason behind these guided tours is because of a 2016 study that found “extremophile bacteria” are slowly consuming the wreckage, which means this might be the last time humans will be able to view the vessel, as it could eaten away within 15 to 20 years’ time.
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